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Alan Watson Featherstone

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Alan Watson Featherstone (born 10 February 1954) is a Scottish ecologist, natural history photographer, inspirational speaker and the founder of the conservation charity Trees for Life.


During the 1970s he travelled extensively throughout the United States, Canada and South America.[1] On his return to the United Kingdom, he joined the Findhorn Foundation in 1978, and for the next fifteen years was at the forefront of its work with nature.[1] In October 1986 he was the main organiser for a major international conference on the world's ecological crisis called, 'One Earth: A Call to Action', involving 240 delegates.[1]

In 1986 he formed Trees for Life, with the aim of restoring the Caledonian Forest and its unique wildlife to the Scottish Highlands.[1] The charity works in partnership with the Forestry Commission, the National Trust for Scotland and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) at a number of sites to the west of Loch Ness and Inverness.[2] As of April 2014, the charity has planted over one million native trees.[1] In August 2008, Featherstone oversaw the purchase of the 4,000 hectare Dundreggan Estate for £1.65 million in Glenmoriston.[3] The charity has received numerous awards.[1] He has helped to inspire similar ecological restoration projects in the Scottish Borders, Dartmoor in England and the Yendegaia National Park Project in Tierra del Fuego, Chile.[1]

Featherstone has given lectures and workshops all over the world and spoken at various international conferences including: the World Wilderness Congress, the Society for Conservation Biology annual conference and the Society for Ecological Restoration conference.[1] He has written numerous articles for journals and magazines as well as appearing regularly on television and radio.[1]

He is also an accomplished nature photographer and produced the Findhorn Nature Calendar from 1983 to 1994 and the annual Trees for Life Calendar and Diary from 1988 to 2017.[1] His photographs have been published in numerous publications including Time, BBC Wildlife magazine and the Encyclopædia Britannica.[1] In 2019 he published the Forests Forever perpetual calendar, featuring 366 photographs of trees and forests from around the world, one for each day of the year, combined with inspiring quotations about trees.

In 2002 Featherstone established the Restoring the Earth project, "to promote the restoration of the planet's degraded ecosystems as the most important task for humanity in the 21st century".[1] The project is overseen by the Earth Restoration Service, of which, Featherstone is a trustee.[1][4] He is also a trustee and former chairman of Wild Things! an environmental education charity based in the North of Scotland and a former trustee of the Findhorn Foundation.[2] He is currently a trustee of the Findhorn Hinterland Trust, and Trees for Hope, a charity that promotes the ecological restoration of the Fertlle Crescent region.

In 2001 he received the Schumacher Award from the Schumacher Society, for 'his inspirational and practical work on conserving and restoring degraded ecosystems'.[5]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Alan Watson Featherstone confirmed as keynote speaker for green events and innovations". A Greener Festival Limited. 13 December 2013. Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Wild Things! Board of Directors". Wild Things!. 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Travel: The Grumpy Green: Return of the natives". The Guardian. 15 November 2008. ProQuest 244320433. In 1992 Alan spotted an opportunity to join up patches of forest in Glen Affric, creating a wooded corridor right across the country, a vision now nearing completion. This year the charity also bought the 10,000-acre Dundreggan estate in neighbouring Glen Moriston, allowing the possibility of bringing other valleys into the project
  4. ^ "Repair work: Activists take on Earth restoration". The Guardian. 13 March 2002. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Alan Watson Featherstone". Schumacher College. 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Farmer who took on Trump triumphs in Spirit awards". The Scotsman. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Nature of Scotland Awards – 2013 winners". Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2014.