By Lucy Ashton
Jean Nairn has been appointed Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods, which works closely with the Woodland Trust which operates in Dumbarton, and is responsible for running Scotland’s ‘Tree Oscars’.
Having spent more than 20 years working in and around the sector, Jean is well qualified to take on the prestigious annual Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards, celebrating all aspects of woodland and forest management, from forestry to farming, community to schools.
Jean said: “We are promoting the work carried out by forestry and farming sectors including the additional Climate Change Champion award which demonstrates best practice and innovation within the sector as well as schools and communities.”
She added: “The awards are a fantastic demonstration of the diversity of people we see across the forest and woodland management sector. It is great to see how things are always moving forward with young and old being represented, something I want to continue and build on.
“Climate change is affecting every part of society and we want to promote the fantastic work being done across Scotland’s wonderful forests and woodlands to mitigate, adapt and educate the impact of a warming planet.”
With roots in the heart of ‘Big Tree Country’, Jean entered the forest industry in Scotland after graduating from Bangor University with a degree in Agroforestry. After working with Confor and Scottish Woodlands among others she has trained as a Forest Therapy Guide, certified by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy.
She believes it is important to recognise the forests, woodlands and managers who create the landscape, managed to industry standards, which also manifest in wellbeing benefits which can be gained by people being among the trees.
Jean added: “If we have great woodlands to enjoy, we feel better because being around trees has the ability to calm and restore us. After all, as human beings we have lived in the woods for most of our lives.
“Managing these trees through multi-purpose forestry is important and vital work in terms of having a thriving industry at the same time as feeling good and saving the planet. That is why I am thrilled and excited to take on this new role.”
Jean replaces Angela Douglas whose eight years in the role have seen the awards grow from strength to strength. Guy Watt, Chair, on behalf of the Trustees, said “we would like to thank Angela for her sterling efforts during her term. We are delighted to welcome Jean who will carry on helping the awards to celebrate and recognise some of the great work being carried out across Scotland.”
Enjoying the woods. Petra McMillan on the trail which the Woodland Trust operates at Dumbuck and Overtoun in Dumbarton.