A woodland enthusiast from Cupar has won a prestigious award for her work in helping to preserve some of Scotland’s most important trees.
Woodland Trust volunteer Judy Dowling was named as the charity’s Volunteer of the Year at its annual conference in Leeds.
She received the Bluebell Award for best guardian of woods and trees from Woodland Trust chief executive Beccy Speight and president Clive Anderson.
Judy has recorded an internationally important collection of ancient oaks at Cadzow near Hamilton and has been instrumental in leading the recording of ancient orchards.
She said: “I’ve been recording trees since 2007, when I first read an article about it, and recorded an ancient tree at Elcho Castle in Perthshire.
“I soon got hooked, and as I travelled around the countryside in Fife and beyond, I recorded more and more trees, and attended national training and recording events. I love visiting places to look for old and interesting trees, and have been to some amazing places.”
Over the past seven years Judy has committed time and energy to researching, finding, and recording ancient, veteran and notable trees across Scotland.
She has met with individuals and groups across the country to share her knowledge and inspire others to record and protect these special trees.
She was nominated for the award by Andrew Fairbairn, communications and development manager at the Woodland Trust Scotland, who said: “The Woodland Trust relies on the support of thousands of volunteers around the UK.
“Their continuous and unrelenting efforts go a long way in achieving our goals of creating, protecting and restoring native woodland, and the Volunteer of the Year award is one way we can show all of our volunteers that we really value their outstanding effort.”
Winners are selected from nearly 2000 volunteers all over the UK, who dedicated over 140,000 hours of their time in 2013.
To find out how to get involved as a volunteer, visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/volunteer.