In 2020, ‘The Survivor Tree’, won Scotland’s Tree of the Year. This year, the tree competed to be named European Tree of the Year 2021. As Borders Forest Trust celebrates its 25th Birthday, this tree will allow us to show Europe what can be achieved in Scotland in terms of ecological restoration.
Creating a symbol of hope – During the fundraising campaign for the purchase of Carrifran, Philip, Myrtle and the other fundraisers in The Wildwood Group, created and distributed about 100k copies of a brochure, with the slogan “Where one tree survives…. a million trees will grow”, laid over an eye-catching photo of a single rowan tree, surviving on a small crag.
Twenty years on, this rowan tree looks very different, as it is buttressed by suckers from its base – previously scarred by feral goats – and surrounded by its children, springing up from berries scattered by the wind and dispersed by visiting birds.
The Survivor Rowan is a symbol of what can be achieved and is Britain’s entry to the European Tree of the Year 2021 competition. This Rowan tree is not majestic or ancient like many of the other entries – but it is symbol of hope.
In years to come, the rowan will be obscured from view and will be just one tree among many, demonstrating the journey towards landscape scale ecological restoration and a return to nature in part of the denuded hills of southern Scotland.