Talk on work of conservation charity

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At the most recent meeting of Forfar and District Historical Society members were privileged to have a talk and visual display by Nigel Hawkins, a founder and a former chief executive of the John Muir Trust.

The trust is the UK’s leading wild land conservation charity. It is named after John Muir (1838 –1914), often considered to be the father of the world conservation movement, and who urged everyone to “Do something for wildness and make the mountains glad”.

Although a Scot, born in Dunbar, he is perhaps best known for his later life and conservation work in the United States, and in particular his role there in the establishment of the Yosemite National Park.

It was Muir’s inspiration which moved Mr Hawkins and others to found the trust in 1983 with a budget of only £100, and it has since moved on to ownership and stewardship of large areas of wild land, which they manage in association with others, recognising the importance of involving residents and occupants.

Wild landscapes of the UK are renowned for their beauty and diversity, perhaps the greater parts being here in Scotland, and they are a valuable part of our heritage.

They also contribute to local economies through tourism and recreation.

The trust’s declared objective is “to seek to ensure that wild land is protected and that wild places are valued by all members of society”.

The Trust’s acquisitions of wild areas include land on Knoydart, Schiehallion, and perhaps most famously, our beloved Ben Nevis.

Mr Hawkins stressed that a wild place can be any space, however small, where our native flora and fauna can be enjoyed and nurtured and protected. The Trust, however, does need public support, and further information on the broader aspects of its work can be found on their website – www.jmt.org