Schools and groups in the county take part in iniative to plant trees

SCHOOLS and communities in West Sussex are taking part in planting 14,608 free trees that are being given away across the county. They have been included in a national initiative in which community groups and schoolchildren across the UK are planting a phenomenal 750,000 free trees from the Woodland Trust. As a result 1,800 acres of trees will be planted, equivalent to five times the size of London’s Hyde Park.

A total 2,638 native trees are being distributed through community packs across West Sussex, enabling local people to transform community spaces in villages, towns and cities. These trees are some of the first celebratory trees to be planted as part of the Woodland Trust’s ‘Jubilee Woods’ project to mark the Diamond Jubilee of HRH Queen Elizabeth in 2012.

Groups will be receiving either a small pack of 105 trees or a large pack of 420 trees. Each pack is available in four different themes: year-round colour, wood fuel, wildlife or wild harvest, all of which are ideal for planting as hedging, small woods or copses to fit best within neighbourhood spaces.

Now and throughout 2012, packs also contain a special Royal Oak sapling grown from an acorn gathered from a Royal estate such as Sandringham or Windsor, will help people mark the Jubilee with a lasting tribute in their community.

Tree packs are being provided in partnership with ibuyeco, one of the UK’s leading eco insurance providers who have worked with the Trust for more than two years and generously raised more than £300,000 for the charity so far.

Also, 17,500 schools are receiving free hedge and copse packs, with 11,970 native trees being distributed across West Sussex, enabling children to bring natural shade and greenery to their school grounds. Of these packs, 10,000 have been kindly funded by Sainsbury’s thanks to donations from Woodland eggs, chicken and turkey, giving 300,000 children the opportunity to plant a tree through its Active Kids Scheme.

The 14,608 trees being distributed in total across West Sussex will create 35 acres of new woodland, this is the equivalent of 17.5 football pitches.

Victoria Hodson from the Woodland Trust added: “We are delighted thousands of communities and schools are using our free tree schemes to plant more trees in their local area. Groups are transforming their neighbourhoods; growing their own fruits and food, creating shade and shelter, and providing new homes for wildlife. Through tree planting, schools are educating children about the benefits of trees and their importance for the environment.

“Next year, we are offering more free trees for people to plant in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, and would love yet more communities and children to get involved.”

In February, the month of The Queen’s accession to the throne, the ambition is to see one million trees planted in just one month. Communities and schools can order their free trees between now and December 7 at www.jubileewoods.org.uk to take part.

This isn’t the first time that the UK has celebrated a Royal occasion by nationwide tree planting. The Royal Record of tree planting captures in detail the planting undertaken by thousands of schools, parishes, organisations and homeowners in 1936/7 to commemorate King George VI’s Coronation.