Sponsor a Tree

I was asked by one of my correspondents if their children could sponsor a tree on the island. In common with most of Shetland, Forvik is treeless, although that was not always the case. These days the sheep in the hills of Shetland will not allow any tree to get a foothold.

I was taken with the idea, but of course one tree on its own would stand no chance of survival. On the other hand, a number of trees together might make it through the storms and salt spray of winter. I saw it as symbolic of the whole project - one person alone stands little chance, but a number working together can achieve wonders. As Margaret Meade put it: 'Never doubt that a small number of dedicated citizens can change the world - in fact it's the only thing that ever has'.

So, I'm prepared to plant trees if you will sponsor them. They will be Shetland varieties, grown in Shetland and will have the best chance of survival on storm-lashed Forvik.

Your tree will have your name on it and a picture will be published on the website. If it fails to survive the first year, I will replace it. Hopefully Forvik will have its own forest in a few years time. You also get a certificate. Certificates have the name of the sponsor and the the name you want on the tree. Unless you tell me otherwise, both will be your name, but some people want to give them as gifts, or want a different name on the tree. Some example so far: Mother of Hope, Father of Peace, Ben's Tree, In memory of....

To sponsor a tree costs 16 groats (approx. £12).

I'm planting species most tolerant of salt-spray and exposed positions - Alaskan felt-leaf willows, Sitka Alder, Rosa Rugosa and so on. In the first year all did well and I only lost one in the first winter. The tops tend to get burned off with the salt spray, but they spread out amongst the thick grass and I think they will get themselves established. These first trees will form a shelter belt for less hardy ones.

Planting season on Forvik is between April and September. I can buy trees in bulk in the Spring for planting throughout the season.