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'My National Forest': Help create a snapshot of The National Forest in its 25th year

Friday, 8th July 2016

The National Forest turns 25 in 2016 and the National Forest Company (NFC) is inviting everyone who lives or works in – or visits – The National Forest, to help create a snapshot of the Forest.  Everyone is invited to send in images, video, music or words and share what the Forest means to them.

The Forest is not only the trees.  All the towns, villages, places of work, roads and rivers – everything within its 200 square miles – are part of The National Forest.  Hoping to capture what the Forest means to people as they go about their lives here, the NFC has set up an online project called ‘My National Forest’.

"We’d love to see your pictures, share your stories, love your videos," explained Sue Anderson, Community Liaison Officer for the NFC. "We want to get a snapshot of what the Forest means to people in this its 25th year.  What does your National Forest look like?  Is it where you hang out with friends?  Is it where you take your child to playgroup?  Is it where you trained for your first 10k race?  Is it where you walk your dog or stroll with someone you love?

"We're looking for the personal and quirky, the landscape, the people, the environment - anything that illustrates what you love about the Forest.  Have you got a story about what the Forest means to you?  Do you regularly go past a tree and watch it through the seasons, or walk down a street and see the woodlands at the edge of town?  Do you have video clips of your kids having fun in the Forest?  Share it with us and it can be part of the My National Forest project."

Images will become part of an online gallery and can be posted via the website www.nationalforest.org/mynationalforest  Videos and music can be posted to YouTube and the link shared, while your stories and anecdotes about the Forest will be part of the My National Forest blog.

Go to www.nationalforest.org/mynationalforest to find out more.

What is the history of The National Forest?

In the late 1980s the idea was formed to revitalise a large swathe of the Midlands that had been decimated by the decline in traditional industries. Spurred on by massive public support, these 200 square miles were chosen, covering parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire, and a plan devised to breathe new life into this forgotten area.  The plan was to create a Forest.  25 years later, 8.5 million trees have been planted, forest cover has more than tripled from 6% to over 20% and the Forest is fulfilling its initial promise to transform lives, the landscape and the economy.

Initially, some doubted whether it would work – the idea that planting trees could heal a landscape left scarred and derelict by pit closures, bring confidence back to local communities and build renewed prosperity through tourism.

The early woodlands were a leap of faith, but people began to rally behind the cause.  Communities embraced tree planting, landowners shifted from farming to forestry, housing developments incorporated new woodland creation and businesses provided financial support.

Now, over eight and a half million trees later, it’s time to celebrate what has been achieved across these 200 square miles of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

Thousands of people have taken part in Forest events over the years and new businesses have started up.  Open cast coal mines have been transformed into sweeping woodland landscapes.  Forest cover has increased from 6% to over 20%, (roughly double the average level for England). With 86% of Forest creation including open public access, people are encouraged to explore, enjoy and engage with the woodland on their doorstep.

Sue Anderson added: "'My National Forest' will build a wonderful resource that will celebrate these achievements and the rich diversity of places, activities and people who are all part of The National Forest.  We can’t wait to see people’s contributions!"

www.nationalforest.org/mynationalforest