In December, Chelmsford City Council announced ambitious plans to plant one tree for every resident in Chelmsford over the next ten years. Now council leaders are calling local people to get involved and become part of the 're-greening' of their local area.
In total, over 175,000 trees are set to appear in Chelmsford over the next decade. A strong start has been made this winter, with Council staff and corporate volunteer groups planting over 5,000 in city parks during the past three months, but many more still need to be placed.
Hundreds have already signed up for two Community Planting Days which have been arranged at the beginning of February and March. The Council has stocks of native trees and supporting woodland plants such as holly, hawthorn, Scots pine, dog rose, oak and field maple ready for volunteers.
The first Planting Day will be on 2 February at Compass Gardens, South Woodham Ferrers, from 10am to 1pm. The second takes place on 1 March at Hylands Estate, Chelmsford, also from 10am to 1pm. Anyone who lives in or has connections to Chelmsford is welcomed to sign up, come along and plant their very own tree to create a new woodland. All ages are welcome, although under-16s must be supervised.
Swiss scientists at ETH Zurich released calculations in July 2019 showing that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that humans release into the atmosphere. Councillor Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford, is acting on this: "As you have probably heard in the news, currently, the world is headed for a two-degree rise in temperature over the coming years. If it is allowed to happen, this will have a catastrophic impact. We're talking melting polar ice caps, devastating floods, extreme weather events - things which will have a very real effect on our lives, including on low-lying areas like Essex.
"Right now, we have a chance to reduce this rise to 1.5 degrees, which is enough to greatly reduce the damage. Reliable studies show that planting trees is the best way to do this, so we and many other councils across the UK and beyond are acting urgently to do our part."
Caring for the city's parks is part of the City Council's daily responsibilities. Councillor Jude Deakin, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, explains why leaders are asking for local people's help: "This is much bigger than anything we normally do, so having volunteers to help will mean the new woodlands can be planted much more quickly. But we also want to raise awareness and get the whole community behind this incredibly important, world-changing effort.
"If you come along and plant a tree, one day you may be able to bring your grandchildren to stand beneath it and say, 'This is the tree I planted when everyone was worried about climate change. Trees like this are why we still have coral reefs now.' We want to show how much Chelmsford cares about our planet and our future, so bring your family and be part of something amazing."
Elgan Adlard, Parks Volunteer Leader, will be helping volunteers at the sessions. He says, "The trees we are planting are only tiny, so don't worry - there's no heavy lifting involved. You can come along for just twenty minutes and plant one or two if time is tight. Our experts will be there to tell you about the different species and the best way to plant trees, so if you're not much of a gardener, give it a go - you might discover a new hobby!"
Anyone wishing to come along to one of the Planting Days is asked to email the Love Your Chelmsford mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday 23 January 2020