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Woodland award winners hear positive message from First Minister

By Staff Reporter

Youngsters enjoy outdoor play at Earthtime Forest School in Duffus, Moray.
Youngsters enjoy outdoor play at Earthtime Forest School in Duffus, Moray.

Young people in Scotland understand the value of trees and the huge role they can play in tackling climate change, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told an awards ceremony.

Presenting the schools award at the 2019 Scotland's Finest Woods Awards to Earthtime Forest School Nursery in Duffus, north of Elgin, the First Minister said: "It's wonderful to see young people in Scotland – from nursery through to secondary school – engaging with trees and our natural environment in such a positive way.

“We know how children benefit from learning outdoors and it is great to see forests and woodlands playing a big part in that outdoor learning.

“We are in the midst of a climate emergency and planting trees is vital if we are to tackle that emergency head on. In Scotland, we are leading the way towards a net-zero world. It is clear to me that we have a committed and enthusiastic next generation ready to take up the climate challenge – including planting tens of millions more trees.

"With almost 85 per cent of all new tree planting in the UK happening in Scotland, the younger generation is aware of just how important those trees are to our future.

“Congratulations to all of today’s winners and to all young people who are helping deliver a cleaner, greener future for our planet."

Youngsters at Earthtime Forest School Nursery can enjoy their entire nursery session in the forest kindergarten.

The Awards programme recognises excellence in forests, woodlands and forest-related projects across Scotland. This year's programme included a special centenary award to mark 100 years since the 1919 Forestry Act that created the Forestry Commission and recognised the importance of forestry in our country.

This one-off award for woodland management that has adapted to change and shows resilience was won by the Fort Augustus Woodlands, managed by the north region team of Forestry and Land Scotland. Abriachan Forest Trust, a 540-hectare community forest beside Loch Ness, was runner-up.

A new young people trophy was won by crofters near Grantown.

Fergus Ewing, cabinet secretary for rural economy, who also presented the awards, said: “This is a huge year for forestry, with full devolution and the smashing of our ambitious planting targets. We are achieving on both quantity and quality as these annual awards so clearly demonstrate – and it is an enormous pleasure to recognise the exceptional quality on show at Scotland's Finest Woods Awards."

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