PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL SCOTTISH FORESTRY SOCIETY
President's Message - Feb 2018
You will be pleased to know that your board is functioning well and we get through a lot of work on your behalf at our quarterly meetings which are usually held in Dunblane. You will find abbreviated minutes in the members section on the website.
My fellow board members are:
Pat Hunter-Blair, immediate past-president and chairman of South-West Region
Nander Robertson, Vice-President and Chairman of Central Region
Simon Blackett, representing NE Region and Chair of Publications Committee
Rod Pimm, Chairman of North Region
Chris Allan, Chairman of Lothian and Borders Region
Tom Mitchell, Honorary Treasurer
Syd House, Chairman of Cashel
Wilma Harper, Communications Director
Simon McGillivray, Vice-President elect
Our 2017 accounts are not quite finalised but Tom predicts that we will have made a small surplus, compared with a deficit of some £4,000 in 2016. This is good news but there were some receipts which will not recur so we have no reason to be complacent.
During the year our Director, George Moore, with regret deleted 69 members' names from our database, some having sadly died but many having failed to renew their subscriptions in spite of his persistent reminders. We did however welcome 38 new individual members and we doubled our corporate membership from 13 to 26. I extend a warm welcome to them all and hope to meet many during the course of this year.
It is absolutely vital that we all increase our efforts to recruit new members. The inevitable result of a continued decline is that we would, as a Society, slowly die on our feet. So please come to as many of our field days as you can this year and bring a friend or two - new initiative for 2018 - bring a friend for one free visit - I know they will enjoy it and, in turn, meet new friends and you can encourage them to join. Why not also share your Journal with a friend?
Tom, Wilma and George have been working hard on modernising our web-site. They deserve our thanks. This initiative has been catalysed by a donation of £2,500 from the Patron's Fund of our Patron, HM The Queen. It is a much bigger task than you might imagine and will happen in several phases. Watch this space. We intend that the benefits will include allowing members to join on-line and your direct debits to be processed more efficiently. Overarching this project is the pressing need for the Society to comply with the new GDPR privacy legislation. This is no small task.
I would like to record my own appreciation of the tremendous work that Syd and Nander are doing to re-invigorate our Cashel Estate supported by the Cashel board. I would encourage all members to visit Cashel and to take an interest in what is going on there. The new website will connect you to Cashel and each Journal will have a report.
Nander is also working tirelessly towards the launch of the Monitor Woods project which will greatly raise the profile of the Society and its principle aim of promoting knowledge and best practice in forestry as we confront the new challenges of climate, pests, diseases and much else. You will find a report in the April Journal. Again, you will be able to access the Monitor Woods progress reports on the website as they develop.
Some of you will have visited Abbotsford during our 2012 Excursion where we discussed options for bringing some of Sir Walter Scott's woods back into management. The Abbotsford Trust, valued Society members, took many of our ideas forward through a forest plan and successful WIAT application. The work was completed last summer, managed by Netty Horne of Border Consultants. The paths have been extended and improved and from them you can now not only see the wood for the trees but once again enjoy the fine views of the Tweed as Sir Walter intended.
Pictured (October 2017) L to R:
James Hepburne Scott; Giles Ingram ,Abbotsford Trust Chief Exec; James Ogilvie, Forestry Commission; Pippa Coles (Abbotsford Trust Gardens Manager); Netty Horne; Robert Gray, RSFS; Christian Hepburne Scott; Joe Scott-Plummer, Abbotsford Trustee.
James Hepburne Scott, RSFS President, 23 Feb 2018
James Hepburne Scott