Volunteer group with squirrel feeder boxes

Woodlands, people and the need to be interconnected

Borders Forest Trust, has been organising and running volunteering days in local woodlands for over 11 years. We believe the key to conservation lies in working with volunteers.

Group of volunteers
Volunteers at Wooplaw Community Woddland

Lisa Brydon, BFT Volunteer Coordinator, who currently runs our community volunteering project says, “The Trust run volunteering sessions once a week and a group visits a variety of woodlands throughout the central borders, many of which are community owned woodlands. Activities include tree planting, management of existing woodland such as pruning and thinning, control of invasive species and path works. The group also assist other organisations such as Forestry and Land Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). A few trips have been to Glentress Forest assisting with maintenance of their wildlife pond and helping SNH manage Juniper bushes on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Lisa added, “It’s never been a more important time for people to be in amongst the trees. The Japanese prescribe this very activity and call it Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) and scientific studies have shown its many benefits, particularly as a preventative health care for mental health problems. Additionally, and equally important, trees, woodlands and all the important habitats and species that live in these forests need to be protected and managed sustainably. Every patch of woodland no matter how small is a major contributor to our future success and key to how we tackle this climate emergency we find ourselves in.”

Lisa said, “The volunteers who come along are as varied as the woodlands we visit. Some are young, some older but everyone keen to be in the woodlands and help to do something productive and get something back in return. What volunteers get from this activity is different for everyone but important.”

Michael, who comes from Edinburgh to join the weekly group said, “I thoroughly enjoy my time volunteering with the team. Being out and about making a clear positive impact on conservation projects and areas provides a significant feel good factor. I would recommend the Borders Forest Trust to anyone wanting to volunteer.”

Lisa added, “Humans have had an interconnected relationship with trees for millennia and they provide us with many ecosystem services, air we breathe, fuel, flood protection, shelter, soils and carbon storage. Just look around the homes we live in and in every room in the house there will be something that has come from, or made from a tree. This interconnection with us and woodlands is more important than ever and any contribution big or small is a benefit to both trees and us.”

If you are interested in volunteering, please register your interest here.