Ahead of World Environment Day on 5th June this year, we’re hearing from CTO, Robbie Parry on a very exciting project coming up for Marble, combining Robbie’s own passion for reforestation and Marble’s wider agency vision to incorporate carbon offsetting to tackle the climate crisis. It’s time to reveal the Miracle Woodlands story so far…
Co-founding this brand new not-for-profit initiative, Robbie brings to the fore his passion for reforestation and nature through immersive and educational experiences. Miracle Woodlands will create experiences for the public which highlight the need for our natural woodlands to be protected in the fight against climate change. So, we wanted to share a little bit more about this incredibly exciting project and give you a bit of a sneak preview of some things that are in the pipeline too.
What is Miracle Woodlands?
Miracle Woodlands creates meaningful, immersive experiences for members of the public that combine educational messages with sound, lighting and strong storytelling to highlight the importance of trees for a sustainable planet. There is currently one location already open to the public in Mellerstain on the Scottish border, where music and lighting invites visitors to walk through a series of immersive educational pieces.
The whole aim of this incredible project is to raise funds to support reforestation and woodland conservation while also encouraging people to be more mindful of sustainability. The way that it’s designed, however, is to help each individual feel closer to nature and the earth, inspiring every person to make changes in their daily lives that help fight climate change.
What is the Miracle Woodlands mission?
Deforestation is happening at an alarming rate; 15.3 billion trees are chopped down every year, and 46% of the world’s trees have been cleared over the past 12,000 years. Miracle Woodlands believes that by educating people on the intrinsic role that trees play in the maintenance of local habitats and ecosystems, we can generate positive change.
Looking at everything from carbon capture to the role of trees in irrigation and water levels, we hope that our storytelling will inspire people of all ages to protect our trees and the benefits that will come as a result. As well as working on education through experience, we also want to bring in voices from the forestry sphere to talk about their pledge to the environment and how businesses are making changes to their sustainability model. By creating a ‘hub’ at Mellerstain, there is something for the whole family to enjoy – whether it’s educational talks, local arts and crafts stalls, or even food from local eco-conscious suppliers.
We aim to promote regenerative farming practices in many different ways to not just the farmers and landowners that we host on the farm, but to every visitor who eats! Our cafe serves freshly harvested produce from our kitchen garden, visitors can see the food in the ground and gain an understanding of what local, seasonal eating looks like in Britain. There are times of plenty and leaner times in the autumn/winter months, commonly known as the hungry gap when inventive cooks come into their own! In the spring and summer months visitors can see the heritage wheat growing and enjoy the bread and cakes in the cafe made from the flour that is milled just down the road from us. The small herd of milking cows on the farm provide the freshest of milk to the cafe and visitors are informed of the principles of the micro dairy whereby the calves are kept with their mothers and continue feeding from them for many months until a process of quiet weaning is instigated later in the year.
What is on the horizon for Miracle Woodlands?
Over Christmas 2021, Miracle Woodlands held its inaugural event at Mellerstain House in the Scottish Borders. Working in collaboration with the Borders Forest Trust during its silver anniversary year, ‘Miracle at Mellerstain’ aimed to raise £25,000 to support the work of restoring southern Scotland’s native woodland. At its heart, the event was an immersive, informative, illuminated woodland walk around the awe-inspiring loch of Mellerstain House.
We combined the latest lighting technology and poignant storytelling from John Nichol to showcase the secret lives of trees and help the audience understand the importance of natural woodlands in our ecosystem, all while spreading a healthy dose of festive cheer.
We’re also really pleased to announce that we plan to run workshops and events for schools in partnership with the Borders Forest Trust in the near future. But that’s not all, we’ll be working with the local community to offer events such as well-being and mindfulness experiences in the woodland too. Even more excitingly though, is that we’re actually in the process of setting up a second location to continue the Miracle Woodlands story!
Overall, it’s been thrilling to create the narrative and be a part of a positive movement fighting against climate change. Since we launched, we’ve already partnered with 16 schools, which we think is incredible since our ethos is all structured around education. Additionally, as part of the experience we offer, to ensure it is as meaningful and memorable as possible, the children plant a tree and take it home with them as a physical, impactful takeaway. Personally, I’m really looking forward to continuing this initiative and working on similar projects in the future as Miracle Woodlands grows.
What we’ve created at Miracle Woodlands is unique in the sustainability sector. It’s the perfect example of using experiential events to help educate and create meaningful connections with your audience.
I’m looking forward to what we have in the pipeline at Miracle Woodlands, and hope that you’ll be a part of our journey by following us on social media or coming to visit us on location soon.
You can also read Marble’s sustainability policy to get more insight into what we’re doing to tackle the climate crisis here.