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                                              Newsletter April 2019

   Dear Friend,

2019 sees the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Forestry Commission in 1919, when there was a perceived need to replenish the nationís tree stock for timber production. This followed the end of the First World War, during which timber was extensively used for such grim tasks as providing physical supports for battlefield trenches. Fortunately we now live in years of relative peace, but with many challenges now facing the natural world. Not least are those associated with climate change and the sharp declines in recent decades of numerous species of birds, insects and mammals. Forests and woodlands can play can play a vital role in helping to counter these alarming trends, such as by capturing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and providing important habitats for native populations. An oak tree, for example, can provide a home for hundreds of species of insects, which in turn are an important food source for many bird species, with acorns providing food for foraging mammals, such as deer and badgers. However, many trees, including ash, larch and oaks, are themselves increasingly threatened by tree diseases, some of which are spreading at a faster rate due to the stresses produced by climate change. With a recent report from the United Nationís Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphasizing that there may be only 12 years left to limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change on the natural environment, on which we too depend, it is clearly time for politicians and everyone else to follow the recent lead of school-children by taking much more positive remedial actions.

Planting more trees is indeed one such remedial action, as we have been doing over the past 23 years of our existence. Fortunately this also enhances our own local environment, with beautiful cherry blossom from the cherry trees that we planted in Hagg Wood a dozen years ago now in full view, in addition to the spreading carpets of bluebells and wood anemones that have benefitted from our extensive clearing of invasive bramble in recent years, and the banks of primroses that are thriving throughout the wood after we have cleared along many path edges. All of these delights await you on a walk around the wood this  Easter weekend, with the additional benefit of paths being currently dry. Waiting too to burst into flower later in the year are hundreds of foxgloves whose seeds have been unearthed by other clearance work of invasive species, with the rowan trees and field maples that we planted a decade or so ago also on track to provide colourful displays as the year progresses, as are the many flourishing honeysuckle plants within the wood. 


To help us in these efforts, you are very welcome to join us in our conservation work in the wood on our monthly working parties, such as on Saturdays at 10am on 11th May, 22nd June and 13th July. In pursuit of healthy and enjoyable exercise, we hope you are also fit enough to join us on our cycle ride to Beningbrough Hall on Saturday 27th April, meeting at 10am on Intake Lane near the Childrenís Play Area.  

Our AGM this year is on Wednesday 29th May, (more details here) and will be accompanied by an illustrated talk by Brian Walker, who has had over thirty yearsí experience as the Wildlife Officer of the Forestry Commission in the North York Moors district. He will be giving us the benefits of this experience in his presentation on the lessons to be learnt from seeking to manage Langdale Forest in the North York Moors National Park.

We have places for new committee members, including younger members. If you would like to stand for the FHW committee, or nominate another member for the committee, in time for the AGM please send your nominations to me at djm02045@gmail.com by 15th May 2018.  If you wish to propose an amendment to the Constitution, please refer to paragraph 9 of our Constitution We need your support, so please do renew your annual subscription and your consent for us to keep you in touch, using the membership  form


With all good wishes

 Dr David Mayston