Crowdfunding Trees in the Scottish Highlands

We’re combining three of our favourite things – community, crowdfunding, and larking about outdoors – in an exciting new project that involves planting, and saving, trees in the Highlands & Islands. We’re working with Highlands & Islands Enterprise to help community groups use crowdfunding to achieve community projects. We will be working with three to four groups over the next few months, starting with Kilfinan Community Forest and Arran Community Land Initiative. Our role will be to help them plan, launch and promote crowdfunding campaigns that will benefit their projects and communities, and provide them with advice and content to help them make a splash.

Photo from Eco Savvy on Arran

Kilfinan Community Forest (KCF) is a social enterprise near Tighnabrauich in the Argyll and Bute region. The area contains indigenous woodland which was sadly destroyed in storms in 2013. KCF plan to use crowdfunding to raise enough money to plant saplings in order to reforest the destroyed area. Members of the public will be able to ‘sponsor a sapling’ by donating £20, and will receive a certificate naming their tree. Contributors can also opt to add a tour of the nursery, a hand-drawn drawing of their tree, or a picnic made with food from the forest’s allotment group. It’s a lovely concept and we are developing links with the local primary school and creating a pretty, hand-drawn style and tone for the campaign. Look out for the hashtag #SponsoraSapling on Twitter and Instagram.

Nikki and Rob at Kilfinan Community Forest

Also launching soon will be Arran Community Land Initiative (ACLI). Thanks to a recently-announced award from the Scottish Land Fund, they have a promise of 95% of the money they need to buy an area of abandoned farmland on Arran. They now need to raise the remaining 5% and are asking the public to help. The land will be used for crop growing, allotments, bike trails, nature walks and adventure activities, and they will also be helping save the endangered tree the Arran Whitebeam – one of the most endangered trees in the world! The team want the whole island to get involved and benefit from the project, and are cooking up some exciting perks for visitors on family holidays and romantic breaks too. We’re currently trying to fit their explosion of ideas into a single pitch video. Listen out for more info, and footage from our cool new Phantom 2 drone and GoPro.

arran_houses

Both the Kilfinan Community Forest and the Arran Community Land Initiative campaigns will launch on Indiegogo in October, with the others due to run in the new year. It’s fantastic to see these rural communities harnessing the power of the crowd to make things happen for their own social enterprises. We won’t be able to resist sponsoring a sapling and saving an Arran Whitebeam. Somebody’s got to save the trees!