Member Update January 2016

FHT Members’ Update

A belated Happy New Year to all our 100+ members!

2016 will be the first full year of operation for the new charity and it looks like it will be both a busy and productive one. Time to let you know what has been going on on the land and with the trust and let you know of the ways you might be able to get involved and lend support. But first of all I would like to take a few moments to appreciate you as a member of this organisation.

Appreciation of Our Members.
Thank you for taking the time to fill out a membership form and being willing to receive updates and communications. If this is all you wish to do, that’s great as it helps us when we apply for grants and gives us a group of concerned people to bounce ideas off – especially useful as we have a major public consultation exercise coming up this year!
Some of you do more than that and help with the varied physical work on the land by joining in the regular monthly work parties – that’s brilliant as over time the land is cared for, a sense of community and shared purpose is created by people working together and everyone learns a little more about the land and themselves by simply taking part – thank you!
Others contribute by giving of their time and expertise by attending meetings and/or taking on roles be that as a trustee or in a support role from serving teas at work parties to full time work on the land as with Kajedo. Without this willingness to do these essential tasks this organisation could not function – a huge thank you goes to these vital people too.
Without everyone doing his or her little bit the task would become all consuming, far less sustainable and, most important of all, less fun.

What’s Been Happening on the Land?
The short answer is lots! Many of you will know about the Christmas Tree event before Christmas as you attended and got your tree from the land. Over £500 was raised from that event. Others will have noticed that recently the green burial area, firebreaks and paths have been mown back by our small tractor with the topper on the back – one of our first purchases as a trust was to buy the tractor from the previous tractor coop owners. Before Christmas and behind the scenes, Will Russell, our Green Burial Coordinator, had a lair sale promotion that raised over £10,000 for the trust! On the land more than two hundred trees donated by the Woodland Trust have been planted, some annual thinning of the woods has taken place near the wildlife ponds and the Edible Woodland Garden irrigation system has been completed and handed over. (A big thanks to Tobias, Ariane and many others.)The latter uses grey water from the Soillse communal-washing facility and rain water from the roof to water the garden so it is good to know that we are now ready for spring! Some JCB work on firebreaks to the west of the woods will help reduce the amount of hand cutting of gorse in the future and keep the woods and houses at Pineridge that little bit safer. Wild Things!, our local environmental education charity, has also been busy with P5/6 pupil biking down from Kinloss Primary to carry out their forest school activities on a regular day over a six to eight week period before Christmas; another class will be starting soon on a similar programme running up to the spring break.
I could go on but this gives you a flavour of what has been happening. That said, I do need to mention one other thing; that the Findhorn Foundation has generously agreed to another six month secondment of Kajedo Wanderer to work as a land manager on the land. This is great news and will make all the more good work possible. We need now to look at ways to keep him for many years beyond!

Upcoming Events.
There are quite a few that we know of. Before Christmas we secured a £9600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund Start Up Grant scheme to carry out a major public consultation exercise to find out how people use the land at present and to hear what they would like to see in the future. We will need your input for this and will be planning a number of events including a ‘Drop in Day’ down at the Findhorn Village Centre most probably in March to which you are all welcome and sometime in early May a ‘Land/ Festival’ on the Hinterland to give us time to showcase our work on the land and have people come and celebrate – watch this space for more information.
In the autumn we will be hosting the Community Woodland Association annual conference with over one hundred delegates expected from around Scotland taking part. It will be a privilege to have so many come and have a look at what we have been doing and have time to learn from each others’ experiences. There may be some open sessions that you will be invited to attend and certainly come along to the ceilidh that will be held in the Hall on Saturday the 1st October.
Work parties will continue to be held on the last Saturday of the month 9.30am to noon ; January (30/1) work on the lichen beds on Findhorn Dunes Trust land, February (27/2) thinning birches and gorse in our new woods and March (26/3) planting more donated trees. There is room for people with every level of ability and if you have never come along or have always meant to but never made it, here’s an opportunity to join in.

Opportunities for Supporting What we Do.
We are looking at operating an organisation that is held by the many people within a community that enjoy and use this land by the sea; the ideal would be if many contribute a little so that the trust’s work is sustainable, fun and community building for all. There are a number of different ways people can get involved the simplest being encouraging others to join us and join in! Other ways:
Joining in Regular Events. As mentioned previously, come along to one of our regular work parties that happen the last Saturday morning of the month. There is always a range of activities for people with different physical abilities. Or why not come along to the Edible Woodland Garden gatherings that happen from 9.30 to noon every Thursday in the garden and led by Ariane? It would be great to have regulars interested in the great variety of jobs that need to happen to make this project shine! If these do not fit you could always contact Kajedo and arrange to join in the regular work he carries out on the land every day starting at 9am or 2pm. Soon we will also put out further information to those that are interested in learning more about keeping bees and we will have regular hands on beekeeping training events. Let me know if you are one of those that are interested.

Taking on a Role to fill a vacancy/need. Right now we have vacancies to fill in the following essential roles:
1. Membership Secretary. Bruce Wallace has done a great job in holding this for Chris Preece whilst she has been away but it seems that Chris has had health problems and is not able to take the role on again. To help out she is willing to take things back from Bruce and hold things for a month. We need a new person for this role of collating information about contacts, communicating with the membership and working with membership issues. The remit for this position has been well worked out and could be shared with anyone interested.
2. Minute Secretary. You may have secretarial skills and taking and getting out the minutes once a month as a minute secretary would mean Judith Berry, who has been doing this vital job for years, would now be able to concentrate on her role as a trustee in our meetings. This could be a paid position. Interested?
3. Webmaster. Jamie Willow has been doing this for the last three years and now their family is expecting another child and he has had to look at what he needs to give up. He is willing to hold the position until there is a replacement. He has been uploading the monthly posts for the trust and changing small things as needed. Full training would be given.
Other areas and roles that could be developed if someone out there had the enthusiasm could be:
4. Tea and refreshment coordinator. This has been done by Fay Blackburn and Chris has said that she would look to carry on but it still would be good to have another person to look after this important duty for work parties and workshops etc. Making more of a party out of our work parties is an important objective for us!
5. Hinterland tour guide. We could do with a couple more people willing to be trained up to show folks around what is already on the land and the work that the FHT is involved in. This would be a 2-3.30pm event on Thursday afternoons from Easter.
6. Citizen Science Coordinator. There are opportunities to find out and take a lead in doing some valuable research on the land as to what lives there and how they go about their lives. This could help us to learn more about how special our land is and help educate ourselves and others.
7. Bird box and bird nesting monitor. It would be great to have someone to take an inventory on what we have got, map where they are located, check their state of maintenance and monitor which are actually being used + order and oversee the putting up of further boxes.

These are just some of the opportunities out there so do come and get involved in whatever way you can. Contact me at [email protected] if you want further information, have questions or comments – we would love to hear from you!

Jonathan Caddy,
Chair of Trustees
Findhorn Hinterland Trust

This entry was posted in News.
Findhorn Hinterland Trust, Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) SC045806
228 Pineridge, Findhorn, Forres, Moray IV36 3TB