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Caledonian Forest Volunteer Weeks in world's Top 10 Conservation Holidays

14th February 2009

People looking for an alternative holiday or the opportunity to get hands-on conservation experience this spring are being encouraged to join Trees for Life's award-winning work to restore the Caledonian Forest in the Scottish Highlands.

The charity's Conservation Volunteer Weeks have just been selected (in February 2009) as one of the Top 10 Conservation Holidays in the world by BBC Wildlife Magazine. Trees for Life is one of only two UK projects to receive this accolade, which commends the project for having 'clear objectives', making a 'major contribution to protecting wildlife' and providing an unforgettable experience for participants.

The Volunteer Weeks run from 28 February to 30 May 2009, and the scheme allows people to make a personal, positive difference to the environment while enjoying an inspiring visit to the wild Highlands and meeting new people. The weeks suit all abilities and anyone over 18 years old can
take part.

Today only one per cent of the ancient Caledonian Forest survives. The Conservation Volunteer Weeks have helped Trees for Life to plant more than 725,000 trees so far.

Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life's Executive Director, said: "Every year, people of all ages and backgrounds from across the UK and beyond see our Conservation Volunteer Weeks as an opportunity to help restore the natural environment. This year we're running more weeks than ever before, so we're keen to hear from more people who would like to help.

"Spending a week among the forest, rivers and mountains of the Highlands often touches people profoundly. It is also an educational experience, in which volunteers learn about ecological restoration and observe nature close up."

Each Conservation Volunteer Week consists of 10 volunteers, with two specially-trained leaders, and runs from Saturday to Saturday. The work can sometimes be physically demanding, but more gentle Nursery Weeks at the charity's field base are also available.

Transport is provided to and from Inverness, and accommodation and vegetarian or vegan meals are provided. Cooking and chores are done on a voluntary rota basis.

The 2009 volunteer weeks will help Trees for Life to meet its ambitious pledge to plant 250,000 new trees by the end of 2009. Its Quarter of a Million Trees Appeal is supporting the United Nations' Billion Tree Campaign, which is encouraging people
to tackle climate change by planting seven billion trees worldwide.

The autumn season of Conservation Volunteer Weeks runs from 29 August to 14 November 2009.

For more information or to support Trees for Life call 0845 458 3506, email trees[AT]findhorn.org or visit www.treesforlife.org.uk. Details about the Conservation Volunteer Weeks are available at www.treesforlife.org.uk/tfl.ww.html

Individuals and companies can also support Trees for Life by having dedicated trees or groves planted for themselves or as gifts.

Trees for Life aims to restore the Caledonian Forest to an area of 1,500 square kilometres in the Scottish Highlands west of Inverness. For further details please see www.treesforlife.org.uk

Since planting its first trees in 1991 in Glen Affric, Trees for Life has planted over 725,000 trees. Its awards include 1991 UK Conservation Project of the Year, the Millennium Marque in 2000 and Top 10 Conservation Holidays worldwide (in 2009).

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