AN AMATEUR film-maker has been praised in a national competition for her short documentary shining the spotlight on the importance of Helensburgh’s Duchess Wood.

Former Hermitage Academy and Lomond School pupil Daisy Harris, 18, submitted her entry, entitled ‘Duchess: Protecting Our Woodlands’, to the Why Invest in Nature? competition run by Scottish Natural Heritage earlier this year.

The three-minute piece, which explores the impact of the woodlands in Daisy’s life, and in the wider community, was specially commended in the forestry and land management category.

As well as demonstrating the teenager’s talent behind the lens, the film has a vital message for those concerned about the environment.

In the film, Daisy said: “As children, my friends and I spent more time there [Duchess Wood] than in any local playpark and it taught us to love and respect the natural environment.

“I firmly believe living so close to woodland made my childhood a brighter, more fun and more interesting one.

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“But even as a young adult the woods have continued to improve and enrich my life and I’m not alone in this.

“We need to protect areas like this for future generations and for the people who live in these areas right now.”

Highlighting issues such as littering, dog waste and deforestation to make way for housing, Daisy says it is key that the community preserves the local nature reserve.

She told the Advertiser: “I’ve been making films since I was little and recently got a new camera, so, because I live right next to the Duchess Wood – my back gate literally opens into them – I wanted to focus the film there.

“I’ve lived in Helensburgh since I was six months old and I’ve been in the Duchess Wood at least once a week throughout my whole life.

“It has been so hugely influential on my childhood and on my view of the world.

“I have a friend who grew up in Glasgow, where there is very little green space, and without much access to the natural world, and I just find it so shocking that some people haven’t had the kinds of experiences I’ve had.

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“It’s important to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the natural world and we need to work on preserving our green spaces.”

Daisy, who just left school this summer and is going to the University of Manchester to study drama and film, hopes to put her camera skills to the test in a professional capacity soon and is proud of her creative contribution in her home town.

She added: “My friends and family are really happy with the way the film turned out and the people in Helensburgh who have seen it like it.

“We should all be supporting the Friends of Duchess Wood and protecting our woodland.”

Last week, a report which prompted the closure of Duchess Wood was finally made available, revealing that 97 trees present a risk to the public.

The woodland has been closed since June.

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To view Daisy’s film, click here.