Borders Forest Trust (BFT) has a new director. Former Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) regional director Jane Rosegrant started her new role earlier this month.
She said: “The woodland restoration BFT does is groundbreaking. That it combines this kind of expertise with a genuine commitment to working with local communities and supporting their access to, and use of, local woodlands makes it a very special organisation.”
Her priorities leading the organisation over the next year are to build on the work already being done by the charity, she said.
Ms Rosegrant, 49, worked with five VSO country offices – Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand/Burma and Vanuatu – supporting their development.
Asked why she had wanted to lead BFT, she said: “Moving back to Scotland, my hope was to join a vibrant local organisation. Although international development is fascinating, too often you are working with teams at a great distance and not able to see the changes being made. Living in, and working for, the same community is much more rewarding. I was very excited to find this post at BFT as it draws on both my professional background in management and community-based work and my passion for the environment.”
Married to Andrew Tweedy, with two daughters, Ruth (14) and Anna (eight), Ms Rosegrant, who lives at Walkerburn, was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a rural area of the American Midwest.
“I came to Scotland after university as a volunteer at a family support home which worked with families facing poverty and many other types of disadvantage. I fell in love with Scotland and with a man!”
The Harvard anthropology graduate gained a PhD with a thesis on rural resettlement in Ireland at Edinburgh University.
Early in her career, as a volunteer working with families in extreme poverty, she supervised social service projects, she was a council leader campaign manager and for four years in the 1990s, a project manager for Just World Partners, managing environment, education and health projects in the South Pacific and Asia.
She later returned as a programme director for that non-governmental organisation which supports sustainable development abroad.
In between times she was the executive director of the Centre for Human Ecology in Edinburgh. She went on to be a grants officer for the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland and later the programme manager for the fund in Glasgow.
Moving to VSO. she was a country director for Vanuatu in the South Pacific for nearly two years before moving to the same role in Sri Lanka for 16 months. She took on the regional directorship from April last year.
The new director’s hobbies include birds, walking, foraging in forests and books.
Asked what was different about BFT compared with other similar charities, Ms Rosegrant said: “The trust brings a unique combination of approaches to address ecological challenges in the Borders. It also offers opportunities and support to local communities and organisations that want to use, enjoy and care for woodlands, and it has a very active and vital group of volunteers who contribute to and guide much of our work.”
And her hopes are for the trust? “That it continues to combine ecological restoration with community outreach, volunteering and education. In my view we are doing absolutely the right things — we need to find a way to do more of them.”