Plans revealed for Galloway’s Fantastic Forest Festival!

Fantastic forest festival

A range of Galloway partners have come together to organise the inaugural Fantastic Forest Festival in the Spring. The Festival consists of an exquisite variety of conversations, walks, talks, exhibitions, activities and events throughout January and February, giving a variety of opportunities, both online, in person and in wonderful woodlands to better understand our these amazing environments.

With topics varying from rainforests through to how we can better interpret and record what is on our doorstep, the festival aims to offer something for everyone of all ages and interests!

Fantastic Forest Festival suitable for all ages.

Young and old will enjoy the Fantastic Forest Festival!

The programme is being organised by a range of partners including the Galloway Glens Scheme, artists Leeming & Paterson, the Watson Bird Project, Glenkens Community & Arts Trust, Communities for Diverse Forestry and the South West Scotland Environmental Information Centre.

McNabb Laurie, Galloway Glens Team Leader, said:

“This is an opportunity to celebrate, discuss and better understand the amazing diversity of our woodlands, and how we can better appreciate them in our lives. The festival includes a range of different online and in person opportunities to allow everyone to engage with and be inspired by trees, considering their future role from a climate, biodiversity and community perspective, as well as their importance as part of our economy.”

Morag Paterson co curator of Fantastic Forest Festival

The festival will explore our cultural relationships with trees and discuss future woodland possibilities says Morag Paterson.

Morag Paterson, co-curator, resident artist and member of the Communities for Diverse Forestry Initiative, supporting a range of the events, said:

“A privileged line-up of expert speakers will separately transport us from temperate rainforests to policy mechanisms, from exploring our cultural relationships with trees to discussing future woodland possibilities. Artists-walks and talks will investigate local treescapes – past, present and future.”

The programme is kicked off on 27th January at the Catstrand in an event which includes the launch of a new exhibition that will be on display throughout the festival.

Events and tickets

· 27th January – Launch of Festival & New Exhibition at Catstrand, 7pm. A short and informal event launching the festival and an exhibition of work by Donald Watson & Leeming & Paterson which will be on display at the Catstrand for the coming month. No tickets required.

· 28th January – ‘Can’t see the Wood for the Trees’. 10am-1pm @ Balmaclellan Smiddy. A friendly gathering with creative conversations and artist talks, exploring our woodland habitats. Book tickets.

· 08th February – Riverwoods: Do Fish really grow on trees… 7.30pm in Catstrand. After watching the critically acclaimed and award-winning film together, an expert panel will discuss and answer any questions. Book your free ticket.

· 11th February – Investigating Galloway’s Native Woodland. 10am-12noon in Balmaclellan Smiddy. An introduction to the native woods of Galloway for anyone who would like to get involved in their conservation, whether through recording their wildlife, researching their history or campaigning for their protection. Presented by Peter Norman from SWSEIC. Session followed by an optional woodland walk. Book tickets.

· 15th February – The Lost Rainforests of Britain – 7.30pm, Online Event. Guy Shrubsole, author of ‘Lost Rainforests of Britain’ talks about his recent work and why the word ‘rainforest’ matters. Book tickets.

· 18th February – ‘Spruce Plucking’ World Championships – 2pm. If Spruce self-seeds in the wrong place, could it be plucked? A great fun opportunity to get out onto the hillside, irrespective of the weather. See Galloway Glens channels for more info.

· 22nd February – National Trust For Scotland: ‘Treetastic’ at Threave. 10am-3.30pm, £3.50 per person. A day celebrating Trees on the Threave Nature Reserve. ID workshop, creative tree crafts, tree folklore and storytelling, a tree trail, and tree planting. Booking link available soon.

· 22nd February – The future of Woodlands in Dumfries & Galloway. 7.30pm, Hybrid event, attend online or at Balmaclellan Smiddy. How has Southern Scotland’s tree cover changed through history, why our woodlands were originally established and how this is changing. Book your free ticket.

· 24th February – Imagining our Future Woodlands. 10.30am-3pm, Dalry Town Hall. Join us for conversations with a variety of different voices and communities of interest – local and national – as we consider Galloway’s future woodland interests and objectives. Book tickets.

· 26th February – A Walk in the Woods. 10am-1pm. An artist-led, immersive walk in the woodlands, with a chance to look back at the activity of the festival. Book tickets.

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