Crowdfunder success demonstrates public support for rewilding

A crowdfunding bond in partnership between Trees for Life and Triodos Bank UK has raised £2 million in less than 48 hours. It will be used to part-fund the world’s first rewilding centre in the Scottish Highlands.

The bond offer was launched on the evening of Monday 13 September and reached its target on Wednesday – making it Triodos Bank’s fastest ever crowdfunding raise to reach £2 million. The average investment size was £4,800.

The new Rewilding Centre at the Trees for Life Dundreggan estate in Glenmoriston will showcase how rewilding allows nature to recover. It will enable visitors to explore wild landscapes, discover Gaelic culture and learn about the region’s unique wildlife all year round. The £6 million attraction is expected to open to the public in spring 2023 and will welcome over 70,000 visitors annually by 2030.

Bevis Watts, CEO of Triodos Bank UK, commented: “This was the first time that we’ve offered investors the opportunity to invest directly in a rewilding charity – and we were blown away by the response. It’s clear that people across the UK are passionate about protecting our natural world and that they are willing to back this financially. We see caring for the natural environment and our own future prosperity as interlinked, and the overwhelming demand for this investment shows that many people share this belief too.”

Steve Micklewright, chief executive of Trees for Life, commented: “We have always benefitted from the support of volunteers, donors and many others across our community, but we were taken aback by the enthusiasm of investors in our crowdfunding offer.

“We are delighted that we can move forward with our plans to connect thousands of people to nature. Dundreggan will showcase how large-scale nature recovery can give people amazing experiences, create jobs and benefit local communities.”

Once complete, the centre will boost the rural economy through at least 15 (full-time equivalent) new local jobs. An all-weather visitor centre, café and events space will act as the gateway to fully accessible trails, child-friendly forest experiences and more adventurous walks, while an accessible accommodation space will allow for longer educational and volunteering stays.

Income generated by the centre will support Trees for Life in their aim to rewild the Scottish Highlands. The charity plans to increase woodland cover at Dundreggan alone from 26% to 41% over the next 10 years.

Investors will receive 6% gross interest per year over the nine-year bond. As with all investments, interest payments and return of capital are not guaranteed.