Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.
― John Muir
89,000 trees grown on the nursery
Since autumn we have carefully nurtured and grown 89,000 trees - ranging from aspen to willow. These trees are now in West Affric, the Forest of Hope in Beldorney and at Dundreggan itself, where the team planted 1,440 trees in Carn na Caorach last week, marking the end of the spring planting season.
As they grow, seed and support natural regeneration, these young trees will transform the landscape of the Scottish Highlands - and provide a home for a host of plants, birds, mammals and insects.
This month we released a new video on how to identify a red squirrel. From its feeding habits to its distinct mating call, nature educator, Dan Puplett reveals all the tell-tale signs to spot on your next walk in the woods. Watch here.
The Shieling Project
Skills for Rewilding trainee, Alice, recently helped lead a week at The Shieling Project in Strathfarrar to build on her community engagement experience. She worked with primary school children to care for livestock and learn traditional crafts, such as natural dying and willow weaving.
Rare hawk moth visits Dundreggan
A rare moth has landed at Dundreggan nursery. Resembling a bumblebee, the narrow bordered bee hawk moth flies between May and June, feeding on flowers like marsh thistle and lousewort. Dundreggan provides a perfect home of natural grasslands and shrubs.
We joined the Drumnadrochit community to watch Riverwoods from SCOTLAND: The Big Picture. Riverwoods follows the plight of Scotland’s salmon and the call to restore river woodlands to help save them - our Affric Highlands initiative is working to do just that. Sign up to view the film here.
By donating to Trees for Life, you can help us rewild the Scottish Highlands. Please consider donating here.
A special thanks to outdoor enthusiasts Meg and Sammy, who will take on 26 Munros in July to raise money for rewilding.
Their 122km walking challenge is an opportunity to celebrate Scotland’s mountains and help us rewild the landscape of the Highlands.
Their fundraising expedition will take four days, beginning at Glenshee and ending on Ben Wyvis on Saturday 16 July. Support Meg’s and Sammy's fundraising challenge here.
Thanks to everyone who has donated to Trees for Life this month.
"The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."
― Nelson Henderson
Spring has come
Throughout March we spotted some brilliant signs of spring at Dundreggan.
Our aspen are in flower! Below are some photos of the flowering aspen. The smaller catkins are female, the others are male. If you look closely you can see pollen on the males.
Bottom left, a Rannoch brindled beauty moth, a rarity in the UK, only found in Scotland and quite rare here too. The female is flightless and sits about on fence posts (where trees are unavailable) and the males find her using her pheromone trail.
Middle right, is a male lichen running spider in the aspen tunnel. A UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species, listed as in decline. A very welcome find.
Last, but by no means least, a family of badgers. With their distinctive striped faces, the badger is an unmistakable animal in the forest, but as a nocturnal species, are rarely seen.
Traveling from several provinces across the heavily logged Cambodian landscape, two dozen Buddhist monks met at a local pagoda last October to attend a workshop held by The Alliance of Religions and Conservation. For Cambodia’s emerging network of “ecology monks” working in an increasingly authoritarian climate, the meeting was a critical and rare opportunity to discuss best practices for local conservation projects. And then two cops showed up and shut it down.
“They’re very wary of the monks getting together,” Chantal Elkin, a program manager for The Alliance of Religions and Conservation, told Sojourners. “Forest activism is [seen as] a threat to the government.”
Several of the monks were visibly upset, Elkin said.
Though traditionally revered in Cambodia’s majority-Buddhist society, monks today are not immune to the government’s crackdown on civil society actors. But where efforts at civic organization meet rebuke, Cambodia has seen the rise of one act of conservation — the holy ordination of trees — which originally emerged in Thailand and has risen in practice under the auspices of the Buddhist faith.
The most venerable of the group took the two officers, local cops not antagonistic to the meeting but seemingly following orders, up the hill where the group ordained a tree into the Buddhist faith, and then dispersed.
The Bo tree, also called Bodhi tree, according to Buddhist tradition, is the pipal (Ficus religiosa) under which the Buddha sat when he attained Enlightenment (Bodhi) at Bodh Gaya (near Gaya, west-central Bihar state, India). A living pipal at Anuradhapura, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), is said to have grown from a cutting from the Bo tree sent to that city by King Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE.
According to Tibetan tradition when Buddha went to the holy Lake Manasorovar along with 500 monks, he took with him the energy of Prayaga Raj. Upon his arrival, he installed the energy of Prayaga Raj near Lake Manasorovar, at a place now known as Prayang. Then he planted the seed of this eternal banyan tree next to Mt. Kailash on a mountain known as the "Palace of Medicine Buddha".