This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Chief encounters: Carol Evans on trees, guns and roses

This feature is over 8 years old

Woodland Trust Scotland chief executive Carol Evans gets angry when ancient trees are felled and is a fan of the fake Christmas tree

1. What makes a good day at work?

I'm on the early train from Arbroath to get to our head office in Perth. My team fills the room and there's a buzz all day long, everyone working away mixed with a bit of chat and laughter. We're moving forward on a number of fronts, creating new woods, protecting important trees and woods and restoring ancient woods to their former glory, as well as welcoming tens of thousands of visitors to the eighty woods that we care for in Scotland.

2. What's your favourite tree?

Hazel. It's easy to overlook but it's a lovely tree that supports lots of wildlife – and in spring the new wood is so bendy you can it into knots. I really love all trees though, each species has its place in the environment and a special character, from big old Scots pines to aspens that flutter magically in the breeze.

Carol Evans

People should get out and explore, learn about the different kinds of trees and the amazing wildlife that woods support

Carol Evans

3. What do you procrastinate over?

Very little! When I do it's about how to communicate most effectively on tricky subjects.

4. What will Scotland's landscape look like in 100 years' time?

I'd consider it job done if Scotland had 34% tree cover like most of our European neighbours. We're still one of the least wooded countries in Europe. A big increase in native tree cover from the current paltry 4% would be the right result – there are so many benefits for people and wildlife. Many trees are under threat from pests and diseases, so we've got a big job to do over the coming years to keep our woods resilient and healthy.

5. What turns you into the office Victor Meldrew?

No question, when a tree that's been around for centuries is knowingly felled, it's just very, very wrong. Ancient trees are our natural monuments, they've seen so much history and they need much better protection.

6. What do you think is the main strength of the Scottish charity sector?

We work together. So much of our work is done in partnership with others; something that I think is far more common in Scotland than the rest of the UK. Partnerships bring new perspectives and are so effective at solving problems.

7. If you were your boss, would you like you?

Yes – I hope so anyway!

8. What does your ideal weekend look like?

I love living in the Angus countryside. The landscape is so varied from wild glens to long sandy beaches. Spending time with our menagerie of dogs, chickens, cats, ferrets and a hawk suits me down to the ground and keeps me really busy, and somehow I find time to bake cakes and look after my garden too!

9. Is the third sector a calling or an accident?

It's definitely been a calling for me. I've worked in both the private and public sector but I knew I'd be committed to the third sector from day one.

10. What's your favourite album?

I flit about so much on this, there's an old loyalty to Guns and Roses, but that feels a lifetime ago.

11. Would your 16-year-old self be impressed with where you are now?

For sure, I was always very driven though.

12. What will your next job look like?

I really can't think past the Woodland Trust Scotland, it's a great charity and I love my team.

13. What one thing can people do to help improve our woodlands?

Other than becoming a member of the Woodland Trust Scotland? People should get out and explore them, learn about the different kinds of trees and the amazing wildlife that woods support. As a nation we need to start valuing woodland more and the best way to do that is by enjoying them.

14. Real or fake Christmas tree?

Fake, but I make it last as long as possible. If you buy one every year get a real one, make sure it's grown in the UK, and that it's certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council.

15. Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox?

I've met the actor Brian Cox, he seemed a good person and was so proud of his roots in Dundee, so he gets my vote.