The story of Green Light Trust spreads far beyond the shores of Suffolk, and far deeper than the wild woodlands which we now own and manage in the heart of our much loved county.
In fact, the journey began in 1988, when the inspirational and nature-loving pairing of Ric Edelmann and Nigel Hughes visited the Hunstein Range Forest, deep in the Upper Sepik region of Papua New Guinea.
It was as part of their trip, meeting tribe folk, recognising the power of forest preservation activity on communities, and being somewhat ‘challenged’ to take this centuries’ old attitude of care for the environment back to British turf, that the Trust’s early seeds were first sown.
Naturally, one of the best people to share an insight into that story is co-founder, Nigel Hughes.
“It’s so true that you can’t tell what direction of travel the world will take you at times, and certainly we never expected to be in the early stages of conceiving a Suffolk-based environmental charity, when we first set off for our Papa New Guinea experience.
“With our theatrical backgrounds, we became heavily involved with local people and established three environmentally-based ‘performances’, which, believe it or not, we took on tour by canoe.
“During our time, we learned how the eco-system of 2.000 square miles of pristine forest was to be lost to logging, so we worked with the local people to help them save their homeland.
“What followed was something of a call-to-arms from the tribe, wondering why we wouldn’t also want to do something back in the UK to preserve woodland and wild spaces for future generations.
“Inspired, we returned to the UK and established Green Light in 1989 as an environmental charity based at Lawshall. Our goal then was to educate and inform the UK public on environmental matters.
“What we established grew quickly. In 1993 a small group of people living in Lawshall decided to create their own woodland. This became known as ‘Forest for Our Children’ and started life in a two acre field, with the first trees planted by the Chief of the tribe we’d met on our travels.
“Today, I’m proud and delighted to say that vision has grown into two woodlands owned by Green Light, over 60 community spaces managed by our Wildspace group, and some 6 million trees planted so far.”