Alpkit Foundation awarded a grant to help subsidize a weeks residential trip to Camas and materials for a deer fence.
Camas is run as part of the Iona Community, a charitable organisation that works with vulnerable young people from areas of extreme poverty in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Each year the centre runs at a loss due to offering affordable residential weeks to the groups, as a result of this outside funding is needed to fund projects to develop the centre. As an ongoing project they are keen to reforest a part of the land behind the buildings which involves clearing the land of bracken, digging drainage ditches, buying and erecting a deer fence, planting and mulching 250 native trees.
In doing this it will help with the conservation and regeneration of Mull landscape, with the woods increasing biodiversity of the local area, help prevent land erosion and create a shelter belt for future woodland sites.
The first phase of the project has happened and Abbi from Camas reported back on proceedings so far... "12 volunteers who came to work on the project – they lived in community for the week in an isolated setting, they were part of a team which brought the fence down the track (1.5 miles on foot), they gained a sense of accomplishment and met new people and furthered their own self development. This is all aimed at benefitting the local landscape by enabling a fence to be erected, and we will then be able to plant a woodland (inviting more volunteers to help), which will increase the biodiversity of the land and eventually what the land/woodlands can be used for eg. Bee keeping, fire wood, shelter building, charcoal burning etc. This first stage of the project was successful. We were able to gather the volunteers, bring the materials down the track, clear the land, dig the drainage and erect the fence. Phase two will be planting the trees…"
The existing woodland at the Camas site was planted 20 years ago and is now used as an area for young people to use as a recreation space, to learn woodland skills such as fire lighting, den building, water filtration techniques and provides a rare example of how Mull's landscape would have once been. The woodland is now mature enough to begin coppicing for fire wood and building materials for the centre, as the centre is run entirely off-grid this is of extremely high value. The new woodland will be planted with much the same outcomes in mind.
"Each year we host roughly 500 young people and vulnerable adults at the centre who all benefit either directly or in-directly from the woodlands. The success of this project has inspired us to extend the project and we are now fencing off a larger area to be planted as woodland. We are meeting with the Woodland Trust to discuss this at the end of the month and are hoping to get over 1000 trees planted over the next two years!"