The Woodland Trust has ambitious plans to break its record annual giveaway of more than 1.3m free trees to schools and community groups as the next round of tree-pack applications opens.
Almost 9,000 schools and community groups benefited from the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity’s ever-popular scheme in 2022.
Applications for trees to be delivered in spring 2023 are now open and Woodland Trust senior project lead Vicki Baddeley hopes even more schools and groups will take up the offer of free saplings and get planting in the coming year.
She said: “This year our communities have really felt the impact of climate change first hand, and many are seeing the incredible benefits trees can bring to provide much needed shade, shelter, and help to prevent flooding.
“By offering the free packs we aim to equip our schools and communities with a simple yet mighty tool to combat the effects of climate change, as well as provide ever more vital food and habitats for local wildlife.”
The figures for 2022 are the Trust’s best yet, surpassing the previous best total of more than 1.1m in 2021.
Eco-friendly pupils at RAF Benson Primary School were just some of the enthusiastic youngsters who played their part by creating a native hedge which has helped the wildlife and environment.
The Oxfordshire-school’s ‘Eco Club’ now meets twice a week and teaching assistant Adele McCrindle said she was “thrilled with the results and impact”, which has increased biodiversity and raised awareness of environmental issues for the children.
She added: “It’s so important to develop a love of nature because, to quote Sir David Attenborough, ‘no one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.
“By planting the hedge and seeing the project through, the children have been so engaged and have been able to learn so much.
“Aside from the satisfaction of planting 30 new trees at this critical time, doing something positive to help combat climate change and improving the local ecosystem, it has the potential to inspire both children and adults and it’s so easy to apply.”
The Woodland Trust’s free tree packs scheme has seen trees sent far and wide this year, with the spring giveaway alone delivering a total 623, 910 saplings to 3865 organisations across the UK:
– England: 506,415 trees to 3186 organisations
– Scotland: 76,665 trees to 474 organisations
– Wales: 40,830 trees to 205 organisations
Our tree packs have been generously funded by lead partners: Sainsbury’s, Lloyds Bank, Ovo Energy, DFS, Joules, Bank of Scotland and Sofology.
Baddeley added: “We couldn’t do this without the support and generosity of our funders. We have great backing and our thanks go out to each of them for their vital support.
“The desire to plant trees is growing all the time and we expect demand for our free trees to be even greater this time out.
“There will be 600,000 saplings up for grabs in the spring round of applications and I have no doubt they will go quickly so I would advise any interested groups to apply sooner rather than later to secure their saplings!
“Giving away 1.3m in 2022 will be a huge achievement, but I am confident we can do even better in 2023 and deliver every one of the 1.4m saplings available.”
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