Queen's Green Canopy in Suffolk project to see over half a million trees and hedging plants planted
Over half a million trees and hedging plants have, or will be, planted in Suffolk as part of a mammoth initiative to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and Festival of Suffolk this year.
The Queen's Green Canopy, a national project to mark the monarch's 70-year reign, will eventually see 348,000 trees and 39.8km of hedging planted in the county, totalling 547,000 woody shrubs and trees.
In Suffolk, 85 per cent of these have been planted already, with the remaining amount due to be planted later this year.
The project has been a giant collective effort carried out by individuals, parishes, community groups, landowners, farmers, schools, churches, businesses and councils.
Diana Hunt, Suffolk deputy lieutenant and spokesperson for The Queen's Green Canopy in Suffolk, said: "So many wonderful people and organisations are getting involved."
Suffolk County Council's 'Healing Woods' project, a partnership between the Green Light Trust and Woodland Trust to increase the number of wooded areas to aid with residents' mental health, also forms part of the Green Canopy Scheme.
Healing woods have been planted at schools, such as Howard Community Academy, in Bury St Edmunds.
Tom Brown, CEO of the Green Light Trust (GLT), said: “We must not take our natural woodlands and forests for granted; their planting and conservation is critical not only to the survival of our planet but to help people at this time of dramatically worsening mental health.
"Access to the healing power of nature is a right. GLT harnesses this power for some of the most challenged in our communities, but it should be there for all."
The expansion of the Suffolk Tree Warden Network has helped the Green Canopy Project to be so successful as well.
They operate a network of tree nurseries and, with the Woodland Trust, distribute thousands of free trees every year to farmers and land-owners.
David Appleton, one of 200 tree wardens across Suffolk, said: “The Suffolk Tree Warden Network is delighted to have played a role in growing and supplying thousands of trees to people in Suffolk to be planted as part of the Queen's Green Canopy last autumn.
“We will be supplying thousands more this coming autumn and hope that Suffolk can exceed its target of one tree for every resident."
The Green Canopy project also marks the launch of the Festival of Suffolk, a series of events and activities happening between May and October around the county to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Tim Holder, head of communications for the Festival, said: "This truly inclusive project is already delivering such a strong set of benefits for the people of Suffolk.
"On one hand the Canopy is making strong contributions to the health of our planet and the local environment in which we live whilst at the same time encouraging and supporting people of all ages to access direct opportunities to improve their physical and mental wellbeing."
Meanwhile, Suffolk Libraries are also involved with the project and launching their own initiative, which will see pupils plant young trees and learn about caring for them and benefits they provide.
Melissa Matthews, creative programmes manager for Suffolk Libraries, said: "Suffolk Libraries keenly feels it’s responsibility and environmental impact as an organisation across Suffolk.
"The very nature of the library service involves 'recycling' books and other items which are borrowed many times over.
"We see the Queen’s Canopy project not only as an opportunity to explore how we can increase the bio-diversity of our spaces but also as an opportunity to inspire and educate the next generation to invest in and nurture our beautiful county for the future."
Although many of the new trees and hedges planted as part of the Queens Green Canopy in Suffolk are in the countryside, towns are also getting involved.
In Ipswich there is a three-year project to create a trail called ‘Greener Ipswich’ that will go from the Ipswich Waterfront to Christchurch Park.
Six hundred thousand pounds has been allocated from the Town Deal and the committee has engaged a multitude of stakeholders to confirm the route.
Faye Harbury, chairperson for Greener Ipswich, said: "Plans have advanced to identify parklets ahead of the planting season.
“Despite a huge number of titleholders, and infrastructure and utility constraints, the initiative has pulled the community together and is benefiting from must-do dedications along the route."
Anyone wanting to get involved in the Queen's Green Canopy, which hopes to springboard active caring for newly planted trees and the environment, can contact: www.suffolk-lieutenancy.org.uk/queens-green-canopy