Carrifran Wildwood started as a grass-roots enterprise, and the initiators of the project are determined to keep it so. The Wildwood Group is defined as comprising current members of Borders Forest Trust who are active supporters of the Wildwood project.
The Group is in practice a devolved constituent of Borders Forest Trust, and decisions with legal or substantial financial implications are ultimately the responsibility of BFT Trustees. However, the routine decision making body is the Wildwood Steering Group of about 12 people, comprising committed members of the Wildwood Group and BFT staff, which meets about once every three months. Meetings of the Steering Group are chaired by the members in rotation, and decisions at meetings are normally taken by consensus; voting has never been resorted to.
Day-to-day operations on site are controlled by a Site Operations Team, of which the core members are the Project Co-ordinator, the Project Officer and the BFT Director. Much of the work of the Wildwood Group is carried out by a series of subgroups, meetings of which are open to any member of the Wildwood Group.
Ecological Planning Subgroup
The Ecological Planning Subgroup, comprising some 25 people, had regular meetings during 1998 and 1999 under the chairmanship of Adrian Newton, during which the foundations were laid for the Environmental Statement which was submitted to the Forestry Commission with the Woodland Grant Scheme application late in 1999.
The subgroup now meets about once a year, starting in the valley and then moving indoors for further discussion. The subgroup also arranges occasional field visits to other places where ecological restoration is in progress. These have included day trips to Creag Meagaidh, Ben Lawers and Dun Coillich, as well as a short study tour in 2001 that included time in Lorn, Rum, Morvern and Mull..
Seed Collecting and Propagation Subgroup
This subgroup took on the daunting task of collecting locally-produced seed (or in some cases cuttings) of all the species to be planted at Carrifran, and in sufficient quantity to produce the large numbers of young trees required year by year.
The process began well before Carrifran was bought in 2000 and still continues, though the main planting was completed in 2008. Most of the seed collected was passed to Alba Trees for propagation, though significant numbers of trees and shrubs were also raised by members of the Wildwood Group. The general principle was to collect propagating material within a 20km radius of Carrifran Valley, though for some species we had to range further afield to find fertile plants from the correct habitat and altitude. The subgroup rarely meets formally as its activities are largely field-based.
Fundraising and Publicity Subgroup
This group, chaired by Fi Martynoga since its inception in the late 1990s, was largely responsible for raising the money needed to buy Carrifran Valley, all of which had to be in place by 1st January 2000 if we were to succeed.
This was achieved by a combination of public lectures and newspaper and magazine articles, complemented by an attractive fundraising leaflet, which generated more than 600 ‘Founderships’, created when individuals donated £250, £500 or more to the project. To ensure that the thousands of young trees at Carrifran continue to thrive, the subgroup is still actively fundraising, mainly by seeking donations in the form of Stewardship of Carrifran Wildwood.