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26 Sep 2022

Glenlude’s Phoenix Forest welcomes international visitors

Delegates from the European Federation of Theraputic Communities conference headed to our Scottish Borders site to visit the Phoenix Forest and see ‘therapy by stealth’ in action.

Glenlude - international EFTC delegates and Phoenix Futures RtN 2022

The Trust’s Glenlude Manager Karen Purvis and our partners Phoenix Futures showed guests from Finland, Belgium, Poland and the US the power of ‘Recovery Through Nature’ during a fun September day in the Scottish Borders.

Glenlude - international EFTC delegates get a brew courtesy of RtN^ The RtN team prepares warm drinks for the international delegates using Kelly Kettles.

The delegates were part of the 2022 European Federation of Therapeutic Communities conference that was taking place in Glasgow. They had come to Glenlude to find out about Phoenix Future’s Recovery Through Nature (RtN) programme and meet some of the people who have helped plant trees to celebrate achievements in the organisation, while adding to the Phoenix Forest that is on site.

Glenlude - international EFTC delegates and Karen, Mark and Jon^ (r-l) Jon and Mark from Phoenix Futures and Glenlude Manager Karen show visitors how Glenlude's Phoenix Forest is helping transform the old conifer plantation.

Jon Hall, Environmental & Sustainability Manager at Phoenix Futures (a UK-wide charity that helps people overcome drug and alcohol problems) said its RtN programme – supported by our main engagement initiative the John Muir Award – has had particularly strong results.

“Every year RtN service users, staff and managers come from Glasgow, Fife and Derby to plant trees in the Phoenix Forest. As well as commemorating everybody who has completed the programme and gained a John Muir Award, people have the chance to enjoy themselves in the great outdoors while learning practical conservation skills and building their self-esteem. It’s therapy by stealth.”

Glenlude - April 2022 RtN planting at Glenlude^ In April 2022 the Phoenix Futures RtN team - with help from Glenlude staff and volunteers - planted 200 trees in the Phoenix Forest.

The international visitors then heard about the John Muir Trust’s vision and wild land management practices from the site’s manager Karen Purvis. They were surprised to hear that native woodland covers just four per cent of Scotland’s total land area but delighted that our long-term partnership with Phoenix Futures is helping to improve on that total.

Glenlude - international EFTC delegates and RtN^ The Phoenix Futures RtN team revists trees planted earlier in 2022.

Karen added: “The first trees that were planted in the Phoenix Forest 10 years ago are now starting to produce their own seed. Soon we won’t need to plant more trees, they’ll be able to do it themselves as natural processes take over.”

Glenlude - international EFTC delegates at Glenlude^ International delegates feel the joy of Glenlude's Phoenix Forest.

The Trust’s Director of Policy Mike Daniels also paid tribute to the partnership saying that we value their input into helping nature recover at Glenlude and are keen to look at other sites that we can work on with Phoenix Futures and the RtN programme.

Hand and flowers - David Lintern

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