Dear Members and Visitors,
I am truly fortunate to have inherited the responsibility of President at such an exciting moment in our 168 year history. My predecessor, Pat Hunter-Blair, established a review group to consider the actions required to ensure a successful future for the Society, in particular our financial security. We came up with an action plan comprising 18 points of which 16 are under way and two are work in progress.
The first conclusion of Pat’s review group was that the Society could not rely in future on members’ subscriptions alone. A small fund-raising committee has begun to consider alternative sources of funding for specific projects and to maintain our core functions. To this end I appeal to members to consider making an additional annual donation above their subscription and perhaps a legacy on their death.
For those of us who are passionate about Scotland’s woods and forests I believe that the furtherance of our aims of exploring, learning and sharing knowledge and best practice for the foresters of the future is of the utmost importance and well worthy of our support. A few key developments in the past three months or so:
- I have written before about the exciting developments at Cashel which you will now be able to follow through this website and a dedicated Cashel page in the Journal. This has all been made possible by the financial contribution of the hydro scheme (thanks are due to previous Cashel board members) and to the energy and inspiration of their Chair and Vice Chair;
- Monitor Woods is on course to be possibly the most exciting development in our history. Again, you will be able to follow, via this website, developments and access the body of knowledge as it gradually builds. There will be regular features in the Journal. As soon as funds permit we intend to appoint a development officer for the project which will be an important source of practical knowledge for foresters in Scotland and beyond for many years to come; and
- A notable success for the Society has been leading a group of key industry stakeholders to represent the opposition across the sector to the Scottish Government (SG) proposal to turn the Forestry Commission (not Enterprise) into a Division within government. We will maintain this leadership as we engage with SG to ensure that the sector can unite harmoniously behind the new arrangements.
Thank you to all my fellow trustees for their continued support and assistance in trying to deliver a sustainable future for the Society.
James Hepburne Scott