Environment & Climate Change Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, welcomed the drive, enthusiasm and innovation in this year’s Scotland Finest Woods Awards winners. The Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions of the visionary communities, landowners and practitioners who create and manage Scotland’s finest woods and help to sustain and enhance forestry in Scotland.
Mr Wheelhouse made the comments at the presentation ceremony during a visit to the Royal Highland Show on Friday 20 June. The Minister said:
“These awards celebrate the contribution that woodlands can make to the people, environment and economic prosperity of Scotland.
“And it is an auspicious year for the awards. Not only do we have the 50th anniversary of the Hunter Blair trophy for silvicultural excellence, but there is also a new Crown Estate Schools Trophy to help encourage young people’s interest in woodland projects.
“I was also particularly interested to hear that the site which won the James Jones Trophy for new commercial woodland – which is managed by Forestry Commission Scotland and UPM Tilhill – was also a highly commended entry in the New Native Woods category, which reflects the increasing acceptance of multi-purpose forestry as the norm.”
Over £6,500 of prize money was also shared out to support the winning projects and the judges commended the inspiring range and variety of projects put forward for this year’s competition.
Peter Wilson, of the charity Scotland’s Finest Woods, which organises the annual awards programme, said:
“It has been another fantastic year for high quality applications and, as ever, that has made the task for our volunteer judges extremely challenging: above all, they have routinely been impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of everyone involved in each of the schemes.
“I would also like to thank our delivery partners, supporters and judges whose generosity and hard work continue to make possible this annual Awards programme.”
(A full list of award winners and commendations and more information on the awards can be found at www.sfwa.co.uk)
The Awards presented by Mr Wheelhouse were:
Community Woodlands Awards (2 competitions)
- Winner of Healthy Lifestyles competition and overall winner of the Community Woodlands category and the Tim Stead Trophy: Abriachan Forest Trust for Abriachan Forest, Inverness-shire
- Winner of Viable Livelihoods competition: Kilfinan Community Forest, Tighnabruaich, Argyll.
New Native Woods Award
- Winner of Woodland Trust Scotland Trophy for New Native Woods: Mark Gibson for Craigengillan Estate, Dalmellington, Ayrshire
- Winner of the Schools Award and the inaugural winners of the ‘Crown Estate Schools Trophy’: Dreghorn Primary School, Irvine, North Ayrshire
There were also three Quality Timber Awards presented on the day:
- The Hunter Blair Trophy for Silvicultural Excellence – Virginia Fraser for Fanellan and Ruttle, Beauly, Inverness-shire
- The James Jones Trophy for New Commercial Woods – Forestry Commission Scotland & UPM Tilhill for Glen Orchy Native Woodland, Argyll
- The John Kennedy trophy for Multi-purpose Woodlands – The Church Commissioners for England for West Buccleuch near Hawick, Roxburghshire.