Supporters hope a Scottish rowan can be the woodland equivalent of Lulu in a European contest.
‘The Survivor’ tree at Carrifran near Moffat is Britain’s entry in the European Tree of the Year competition – with online voting now underway for the month of February.
The tree at Carrifran near Moffat won a public vote to be named Scotland’s Tree of the Year in October 2020 and was subsequently chosen by The Woodland Trust to represent Britain in the European Tree of the Year competition organised by the Environmental Partnership Association.
It was once the only noticeable tree in the valley and was adopted as a symbol by the community group which took ownership of the land at the turn of the millennium.
‘Where one tree survives a million will grow,’ became their mission statement. That mission has now been accomplished through planting and natural regeneration.
Fi Martynoga of Borders Forest Trust, who nominated the rowan said: ‘This tree rapidly became a very important symbol of our aspirations to see this valley completely re-wooded and restored to its natural vegetation. In this valley alone we have planted well over 600,000 trees.
‘The beauty of it is they are now beginning to reproduce themselves. It shows how you can change an environment for the better, preserve and multiply what is around. I hope it can stand as a symbol for other people, that they can do the same thing.’
The Tree of the Year competitions in England, Wales and Scotland are supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Will Humpington, advisor for Climate Change and Environment at People’s Postcode Lottery said: ‘I’m really pleased our players are supporting the Tree of the Year competitions, which continue to build a deeper connection between people and the nature that’s around them. “The Survivor” is a terrific symbol of what can be done and what needs to be done in our landscape as we face the challenges of climate change. We hope its message will now make an impact across Europe and beyond.’
Borders Forest Trust Director Charles Dundas said: ‘We hope The Survivor Tree can be Britain’s Lulu in this woodland equivalent of the famous song contest – a diminutive Scot making a big noise in the world!’
Voters in the European competition can choose two trees, so the expectation is that people generally vote for their home contender plus one other. Woodland Trust hopes a video showing how the rowan fits into the story of Carrifran’s regeneration will capture support across Europe.
Anyone can take part in the online vote and the rowan’s supporters hope the British public will get behind the tree.
The best showing of a British tree in the competition so far is Wales’ Brimmon Oak which came second in 2017.