WoodsMeet. What does it mean?

Woodsmeet meetings go online during lockdown. Photo: Small Woods

WoodsMeet meetings go online during lockdown. Photo: Small Woods

By Chris Duncan, Small Woods Trustee

Probably like some of you the word had crossed my consciousness a few times without prompting any action until Ian Baker asked me to chair the first online version of this newish thing. Having just witnessed the second one I thought I would encourage more of you to give it a go.

Being a Trustee and on the board of Small Woods gives me a good insight into many of the fantastic things which our organisation gets up to. Often, however, it strikes me that the average member who reads the magazine has little idea of the breadth of the often ground breaking and sometimes life changing activities in which the organisation is involved. If you feel the main reason for your membership is the anticipated arrival of the magazine, you are in good company. If you are confident it is the only reason, you need read no further, and that is absolutely fine.

However, less than 1 percent of the membership have so far had the eye opening experience of being part of a WoodsMeet. And this is not just me saying this – the feedback is pretty uplifting. It is a way of meeting face to face some of the Small Woods team (albeit electronically!) and participating if you feel able to contribute, or just listening and watching if you prefer (as most do).

At the July 2020 WoodsMeet we heard from Ian Baker, our CEO, and Amanda Calvert, Woodland Management Policy and Projects Manager, and others about recent developments of interest to members. We also heard from Derek and Sarah Neimann, our editorial team, giving insights into the things which make the Small Woods magazine such a good read. Keith Jones, area director of the Forestry Commission, gave an insight into the development of the England Tree Strategy. When published this will have a direct bearing on rules, grants, guidance and many other aspects which will affect woodland owners in England. Piqued your interest now? And there was also a chance for members to ask questions of the presenters and make comments – a very direct form of interaction.

WoodsMeet, which was born as a concept just before lockdown, is I think evidence that Small Woods is one of the most dynamic, pioneering and rich (perhaps not monetarily at the moment!) organisations out of all of those involved with trees. In contrast with others in the sector, Small Woods has not furloughed staff and so has been able to continue its work when others have stopped.

If the agenda for the next one has an item which catches your eye, why not sign up? I am not a woodsman, either through career or experience, but I have had some new insights through this medium and seen some inspiring snippets. And I have to say witnessing a large Zoom meeting working seamlessly (in the main) on your computer screen is very interesting and surely the shape of things to come. I know I am slightly biased by being on Small Woods board, but I assure you no money changed hands in writing the above – I would just like more members to be nudged into trying something new and inspiring.

WoodsMeet Online. How does it work?

If you register an interest in the next WoodsMeet, you are sent an email with a Zoom link to follow at the time of the meeting. This allows you to see and hear the presenters and other participants on your screen. On Zoom:

  • If you don’t wish to be seen you can turn off your video.
  • You can also turn off your microphone, so when someone rings your doorbell, you can answer it and come back to the meeting later.
  • There are other controls such as the ability to show a “thumbs up” or raise a hand, and send a text message to either all the participants or just one without interrupting the meeting.
  • If you can’t be in front of your computer at the right time you can request that the presented material be sent to you in an attachment later on.

How to register for Small Woods members events

To register for Small Woods member events contact Sonia at soniaroberts@smallwoods.org.uk

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