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Community and dignitaries alike joined forces at the weekend to plant 400 whips (young trees) at Jawbones field in Dartmouth to commemorate two special events - The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and 50 years of the Woodland Trust.
The 400 whips planted at the community tree planting were part of a series of events taking place over the past few months across the South Hams.
By the end of the scheme, 4,000 trees in total, funded through the Woodland Trust’s Emergency Tree Fund project, will have being planted by a partnership of local councils, community groups and schools.
A spokesperson for South Hams District Council said: "At the Jawbones event, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Devon, The Hon Mrs Sarah Lopes DL came along and did not hesitate to pull on her welly boots and join in the fun to plant a Jubilee tree in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration, through the Queen’s Green Canopy.
"The second celebration of the day in the South Hams was for the 50th anniversary of the Woodland Trust. The Trust was created 50 years ago by founder Ken Watkins, at his Devon home, when he and friends gathered to discuss the plight of ancient woodlands.
"The 139 hectares of Avon Woods in Woodleigh became the Woodland Trust’s first purchase in 1972. The woods are now thriving and brim with wildlife, wild flowers and a wide variety of tree species.
"The Jawbones planting also included a wide variety of tree species with some flowering trees chosen for their abundance of nectar and pollen.
"The district council is dedicated to doing what it can to achieve its Climate Change and Biodiversity targets, working hand in hand with partners and the community towards a net-zero South Hams."
The Rt Hon Sarah Lopes DL with Ross Kennerley of the Woodland Trust
Cllr Hilary Bastone, Deputy Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “We are delighted to work in partnership as part of the Emergency Tree Fund to plant so many trees in the South Hams. The district is truly a beautiful place, made all the more special to be the very first place where 50 years ago the Woodland Trust saved its first wood.
“With the help of The Hon Mrs Sarah Lopes DL and the Trust, we were able to celebrate two special events at Jawbones. The planting of 400 trees will not only enhance the beauty of the area, but will also be one more step in doing our bit for climate change and biodiversity.
“I look forward to watching the trees develop and grow on the landscape and will remember with fondness The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.”
Ross Kennerley, South West Regional Director for the Woodland Trust, said: “There has been a hive of activity as communities have come together to plant trees. The Woodland Trust is proud to have been part of the planting across South Hams.
“We want to thank all those who taken part. Together we are making a difference for our climate, nature and the local communities. It feels fitting to be planting here, as we celebrate The Woodland Trust's 50th birthday, in the county where the Woodland Trust started, as well as marking the Platinum Jubilee through the Queen's Green Canopy.”
ParkLife South West have this season co-ordinated the planting of all of the trees at 14 locations in South Devon, all of which are being recorded as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme through community environmental volunteering.
Keith Rennells, Director of ParkLife SW, said: “There have never been so many good reasons for planting trees. In terms of the natural world, we are replacing diseased ash trees, lost from our landscape, as well as enhancing biodiversity, creating new places for our precious wildlife.
"Tree planting also helps with mitigating the effects of climate change, and benefits us all in terms of our health and well-being, especially those who actively plant the trees.
“And to top it all off, we’re planting trees to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. All the trees planted this season will be recorded towards the Queen’s Green Canopy, and that will be more than 4,000 in the South Hams added to the national total.”
Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: "Almost 8,400 trees have been planted in Devon during this first year of the Emergency Tree Fund project, which is a great start. We're extremely grateful to the Woodland Trust for providing the funding to Devon County Council through the Emergency Tree Fund to help make this planting possible.
“South Hams District Council and the town and parish councils involved so far have helped kickstart our efforts and ParkLife South West has provided tremendous support in mobilising community engagement. We're now looking forward to fostering similar partnerships with other district, town and parish councils across Devon to accelerate the collective effort to establish more trees right across the county to help tackle the climate emergency."
Devon County Council and the Woodland Trust are working closely together to support the Saving Devon’s Treescapes initiative. Run by the Devon Wildlife Trust on behalf of the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum and with assistance from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this project is promoting community engagement in tree issues to help Devon’s landscapes to cope with the devastating loss of Ash trees through disease.
The Woodland Trust is currently forming the ‘Trees for Devon’ group, linked to the Devon Local Nature Partnership, to produce a Trees Strategy for Devon and co-ordinate tree planting.
· For a one stop shop information point for trees from South Hams District Council, go to: www.southhams.gov.uk/landscapes-trees-and-hedges
· To find out more about what the Woodlands Trust has to offer, and to support them, go to: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
To find out more about the Devon Local Nature Partnership and to get involved, go to: www.devonlnp.org.uk
Main Image: Cllrs Tom Holway, Cllr Rosemary Rowe, Cllr Hilary Bastone, Drew Powell and tree planters
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