Fife’s growing reputation as Scotland’s eco-friendly region was strengthened as the Tullis Russell Environmental Education Centre (T.R.E.E.) held a launch event to mark the opening of the new Centre at Markinch.
The event was attended by headteachers, local councillors and community groups from throughout Fife. S3 and S4 Pupils from Auchmuty High School also took part in the opening ceremony with a display of environmental project work they have recently completed at their school.
Developed in close partnership with the Community Councils of North Glenrothes, Markinch, Finglassie, Stenton and Pitteuchar, The T.R.E.E Centre’s vision to deliver a lasting legacy to the local area emerged at the time of Tullis Russell’s 200 year anniversary in 2009.
Chris Parr, CEO of Tullis Russell and T.R.E.E. Board member said, “Huge credit must go to the Russell Trust, Keep Scotland Beautiful and our local Community Council partners for making today a reality. Tullis Russell’s involvement in this ground breaking project stemmed from a real desire to give something back to the community that has supported our existence for over 200 years. This spirit of shared investment in the future and community involvement is truly ‘in the bricks’ of The T.R.E.E. Centre.”
The T.R.E.E. Centre project was funded by Tullis Russell, The Russell Trust, the charitable trust borne out of the papermaking and speciality coating company, and Keep Scotland Beautiful (Climate Challenge Fund). The state-of-the art £1 million eco-centre aims to help local communities secure a more sustainable future through providing a valuable educational and community resource. T.R.E.E is now a registered charity in Scotland.
Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of the independent charity Keep Scotland Beautiful added, “Keep Scotland Beautiful are delighted that the Climate Challenge Fund has made such an important contribution to the construction of the T.R.E.E Centre. KSB officers provided guidance on the CCF criteria and how the TREE project could best be presented to the CCF Grants Panel. The TREE centre is now an outstanding community asset.
“This is one of the finest construction projects that we have supported and it is great that the building has achieved a low impact on both the local and global environments. We intend to use this is an example to other applicants so they can build on its success.”
In January 2014, in an important partnership with The Ecology Centre Kinghorn, The T.R.E.E. Centre will launch a schools environmental education programme aimed at P6, P7, S1 and S2 pupils. The Centre, which is sited just outside the grounds of Tullis Russell’s mill in Markinch, will host visits from primary and secondary school children from all over Fife and beyond while also offering a unique meeting and exhibition space, complete with 59-seater auditorium, available for business and community group hire. At the heart of the facility are a series of interactive environmental displays, designed by Fifex of Tayport, to capture the imagination of visitors by bringing environmental education to life.
The first community events for the public have already taken place with The T.R.E.E. Centre participating in Fife Doors Open Day in September and in collaboration with Markinch Environmental Action Group, an Energy Day was held on the 23rd of November.
Designed by Architect Richard Atkins and built by Muir Construction, the building methods and carefully chosen materials used in the Centre gave it a much lower environmental impact during its construction and has been crafted to have a very low environmental impact throughout its multitude of uses.
Councillor Jim Leishman, Provost of Fife said, “Everyone involved in making the T.R.E.E. Centre vision a reality have played such an important role in helping to drive innovation and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable Fife. Not only does it provide state-of-the art education facilities for our young children, but also benefits from a range of features that minimise the environmental impact in our community.
“This centre shows the dedication of everyone involved and I am delighted to be a part of today’s official launch, and look forward to seeing it in practice over the coming months.”