My degree course is fabulous. I get to spend every other Friday on a walk in the wild and it’s considered good work. A few Fridays ago, I had the chance to visit Carrifran Wildwood, situated in the Moffat Hills of southern Scotland.
In association with the John Muir Trust, the team working on the site – mostly volunteers – essentially aim to plant as many trees as they can, in an attempt to rewild the area. They have planted over half a million trees over the first ten years of work. As of spring 2007, a large area of shrubs was also planted. According to the site plan, this will eventually become one of the “very few extensive areas of treeline woodland and montane scrub in Britain” (Carrifran Wildwood, 2012).
It was inspiring to see such dedicated work being done on the site. Our guide told us how volunteers spend days planting tree after tree, working tirelessly to rewild both themselves and their surroundings. She explained the problems they were encountering with a lack of volunteers. It is difficult to strike a balance between promoting the site enough to inform people of the work that needs doing, while simultaneously avoiding too much advertising to keep the site as natural as possible and prevent an onslaught of tourists trampling the ground and disturbing the wildlife. There must be a happy equilibrium between the two.
I think media is a tool that can be used to both help and hinder conservation. While it’s incredibly useful for encouraging donation from the public, it can spill too many secrets, and end up attracting more than necessary attention to delicate sites of nature that cannot cope with excessive human use. As a media student, I want to find a way to write and photograph for positive effect to help more and more people enjoy the natural world that they live in.
Please visit the Carrifran Wildwood website for more information on the valuable work they are carrying out there.
- Carrifran Wildwood (2012) What we have achieved. Available at: http://www.carrifran.org.uk/about/what-we-have-achieved/ (Accessed: 6 March 2016)