Reweaving The Web of Life

It was with great pleasure that on June 14th I attended the Trees For Life Half Millionth Tree Planting Celebration Dinner in Inverness.

I have felt a special fondness for the Trees For Life charity since Alan Watson Featherstone, its founder, spoke at my Life Purpose workshop at the Foundation in 1993. I felt then, and still feel now, huge admiration for this inspiring, dynamic and committed Scot who, in 1979, on his first visit to Glen Affric in the Scottish highlands, saw the desolation of the countryside and heard and felt the forest calling for help.

In 1986 Alan made a public commitment to restore the Caledonian forest and it is through his enormous passion for this project that in 1991, in cooperation with the Forestry Commission of Scotland, he began a programme of planting.

To date, 2,500 Trees For Life volunteers of all ages and from many countries, have planted half a million native trees in the target area of 918 square miles in and around Glen Affric, Glen Cannich and Strathfarrar.

Alan and his committed team envision restoring 600 to 700 square miles of wild forest. Last night he proudly told a wide range of supporters that already there are signs of dramatic recovery as insects and birds and floral diversity return to the new areas of forest and the web of life begins to reweave itself.

{image=Muriel.jpg align=left wrap}Muriel Gray, Glaswegian journalist, presenter and best-selling writer, planted the half millionth tree in Glen Affric yesterday afternoon, to the evocative skirl of the pipes and just before a summer burst of hail. She said at the dinner, “Today I feel proud to be Scottish. The devastation of our forests, which I watched as a child and presumed would continue, has been successfully turned around. I thank Alan and Trees For Life for this wonderful work which will benefit me, my children and my children’s children.”

Julian and Jo Spector, owners of Natural Collection, who print the charity’s calendars and diaries, sent this message –

“The planting of one tree is a wonderful act. The planting of half a million trees is truly awe-inspiring. If this was the culmination of your work, this would be a great achievement for anybody, so it’s encouraging to know that you’re just getting warmed up.”

One of the many volunteers at the dinner mentioned that his wife had given him his first Trees For Life week, planting trees in Glen Affric, as a birthday present. What an inspiring way to gift a person and our planet at the same time!

If you are interested in helping transform the Caledonian forest, visit

Yvonne Cuneo reporting

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