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              Newsletter - Autumn 2012

As the Olympic Games have confirmed, great achievements can be made with well-directed effort and dedication. In our own local context, we have had a very productive past twelve months completing several interrelated projects in the wood. These have included improving the conservation value to birdlife, wildflowers and human visitors of the areas around the bomb craters and around the pond in the bluebell area of the wood, with the help of an Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund and volunteers from the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV). We have also planted several hundred oak, hazel, rowan, blackthorn and hawthorn saplings, and native wildflowers, in these areas, and in our magnificent new Jubilee Wood area that we cleared next to the main forestry stone track. With the help of enthusiastic members of St Peterís School in York, we have also opened up to new life and native species other dense parts of the wood that had been taken over by invasive rhododendron. In line with our own objectives, the Forestry Commissionís new ten-year Design Plan for Hagg Wood proposes the gradual conversion of the wood to be one of mainly native broadleaf trees, rather than a conifer plantation. To celebrate our achievements, we had a wonderful woodland party in July with talented local musicians accompanied by native birdsong adding to the festivities. As with the Olympics, taking part is what generates the real achievements, so do join us in both our conservation activities, which can themselves be great fun, and in our other events that are listed overleaf. We also need your support too by making sure that you renew your subscription, so that we can continue our good work. Please do complete a subscription renewal form if you have not already sent one to Elaine, our membership secretary, and sign up your friends and neighbours who would enjoy what we can do together.

Another important direction in which our efforts have helped to yield positive benefits in the last year has been our campaigning against the Governmentís threatened sell-off of local woodlands. We have submitted our detailed views to the Governmentís consultation process and to the Independent Panel on the Future of Forestry, and our Chairman and Secretary met with members of the Independent Panel in Pickering to support the productive partnership which we have developed with the Forestry Commission in our local Community Woodland. The Independent Panelís Final Report and recommendations were published on 4th July and are available for you to read here   The Independent Panel, under the Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, gives very positive support to the protection and extension of forests and woodlands in England, and suggests a broadened remit for the Forestry Commission and wider access for the many woodland which are privately owned. It is well worth reading the report in detail. What is crucial now is that the pressure is kept up on the Government, and its Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), to deliver on these recommendations following its current consultation period before it makes its decisions next January. You can play your own valuable part by responding to DEFRAís survey ... more details here


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