Rewilder Roger takes the health and wellbeing title for Highlands project

A rewilding project in the Scottish Highlands has landed the pioneer behind it all one of the UK’s most prestigious health and wellbeing awards

Birchfield. Pic credit: Chris Coupland

Roger Leese, whose goal is to rewild 100 acres in the Highlands near Loch Ness, lifted the Health and Wellbeing prize at the UK’s longest-standing sustainability honours, the P.E.A (People. Environment. Achievement) Awards.

The rewilding pioneer is using his commercial litigation experience to bring environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices to the fore of leading global companies.

His rewilding project in the Highlands explores innovative virtual and digital ways to communicate the benefits of rewilding.

“Roger is at the forefront of rewilding, what he has achieved will have such a huge impact on our country,” said category judge Jo Wood.

Roger swimming at Findhorn Bay

“The site was planted as a small commercial forest and with some remaining areas of ancient woodland,” says Roger.

“We aim to restore the native forest and peat bog, inspire people to connect with the environment and reintroduce locally extinct species.

“We’ll do so using the IUCN CEM rewilding principles and by running a living lab – the Natural Capital Laboratory (NCL) – with our partners, AECOM, the Lifescape Project, University of Cumbria and Northwoods Rewilding Network.

“We also believe art and creativity are vitally important. Our project includes an artistic component.

“We’re always looking for artists and creative people who wish to spend some time in nature creating their work.

“And vegan ethics are a fundamental part of our ethos. So we ask everyone who stays on site to consume only plant-based foods.

Birchfield. Pic credit: Chris Coupland

“We bought the property in 2017, after a few years of searching.

“We were inspired by Alan Watson Featherstone, founder of Trees For Life, and thought we too could plant some trees to help restore the Caledonian Forest.

“Our forest manager, Cameron, was essential in helping us find a place with all the aspects we sought: manageable size, a river or a burn, accessible and with a wood that wasn’t too dark and still retained some remaining ancient woodland.

Birchfield River, Fechlin

“Through our friends with whom we later formed Lifescape, we developed the ideas behind the NCL.

“From simply wanting to plant trees, we’ve ended up doing something much more ambitious.”

Yoga on the Balnagown River

Read more about the project here

About lyndahamiltonparker 538 Articles
Lynda Hamilton Parker is an award-winning PR consultant, journalist, editor and publisher based in Scotland. She is the founding publishing editor of Good Health Magazine.

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