Over half a million trees and hedge plants have been planted or pledged in Suffolk as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, going a long way towards the goal of planting one for every Suffolk resident – over 760,000. The 348,000 trees and 39.8km of hedging totals a whopping 547,000 dendrological plants (woody shrubs and trees), 70% of the target of one for every resident.
The Queen’s Green Canopy for Suffolk records indicate that 85% of these have been planted already during the programme, with the remaining pledged to be planted in the forthcoming season.
Suffolk is proud to be a launch partner for the Queen’s Green Canopy, a tree planting and preservation campaign that will leave a lasting legacy to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Festival of Suffolk in 2022.
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.
The success of the project has been due to individuals, parishes, community groups landowners, farmers, schools, churches, businesses and councils getting involved. The programme is aware of 136 planting schemes to date. Suffolk County Council has planted 12 miles of hedges with a tree every fifty metres, Deben Travel are offsetting their carbon footprint by planting trees in a Jubilee wood at Holbrook, and at Trinity Park the Suffolk Agricultural Association has planted a Jubilee Avenue of trees.
A key part of the success so far has been because of the expansion and dedication of the Suffolk Tree Warden Network working under the auspices of The Tree Council. Some 200 Tree Wardens gather information about their local trees, get involved with tree matters and local practical projects related to trees, woods, and hedgerows. They operate a network of tree nurseries and, with the Woodland Trust, distribute thousands of free trees every year to farmers and land-owners.
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.
So many people have commented that the pandemic brought it home to them that time spent in the woods really helped their wellbeing and mental health. We know that walking amongst the trees reduces cortisol and even improves our immune system. This is the very essence of Healing Woods. 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.
Suffolk Libraries are fully involved with the Queens Green Canopy and are launching their own initiative, developing the knowledge of the environment and the benefits of trees amongst children and young people. Suffolk Libraries are undertaking an organisational-wide plan to tackle the climate crisis with a focus on environmental action and projects inspired by sustainability. All 44 Suffolk libraries have been invited to be part of this Suffolk Libraries initiative. Young people in our schools, pupil referral units, special education, and young peoples’ charities, will all be involved with planning the project. It will run from spring to autumn 2022 when they will plant the young trees and, along the way, they will learn about the care of trees and the benefits we get from them.
Suffolk County Council’s Healing Woods project has been working with partners such as the Green Light Trust and Woodland Trust to create and improve woodland to positively impact residents’ mental health. Healing woods have been planted at schools, such as Howard Community Academy, Bury St Edmunds where they are starting to develop a small woodland to benefit both school and community.
So many wonderful people and organisations are getting involved. There are four Healing Woods planned including Hopton in West Suffolk where they want to establish a community woodland on a former rubbish dump, on a site that is central to the village with good footpath links. Also getting involved are Combs, Little Finborough, and the Eye Woodland and Wild flower Project will link the existing Eye Town Moors Woodland with green corridors in the heart of Eye.
The planting of trees and hedges will continue in the autumn. Meanwhile all involved are stressing that this is not a one-year project, the importance of the correct care for newly planted trees, and that we must cherish the trees we are already lucky to have in Suffolk.
The project plans to record plantings/preservations for 5 years, the last two and next three and pledging to maintain existing woodland and rewild new areas is equally important to preserve biodiversity and to lock-up carbon.
It is important to start identifying sites, confirming permissions and ordering hedging and trees, so local nurseries can prepare your stock. Organisers believe that there are many more schemes in hand, including large ones, not recorded on the national website. The national call to ‘Green for the Queen’ has recently announced that over a million trees have been planted across the country, and records can still be added to queensgreencanopy.org. You can also make a log on a county level, particularly or if you don’t want your information on a public register, by simply emailing [email protected]
Anyone wanting to get involved should go first to the Lieutenancy website where there are many helpful links as well as information about the national Canopy as well as the Canopy in Suffolk. https://suffolk-lieutenancy.org.uk/queens-green-canopy/
- There is a whole series of fantastic events and activities happening between May and October 2022. Some of these are unique to the Festival, some are the regular annual treats that we already know and love from around the county, and in our own local communities. The Festival is a celebration of Suffolk during The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee that brings all communities together in joyful celebration and creates a powerful legacy to increase the visibility of our county and improve local lives for many years to come.
- Our legacy goal is the build a Festival Fund of £5m by 2025, to be given in grants to help charities, community groups and social enterprises working in these six areas: . Opportunity and Education, Health and Well-being, Community. Enterprise, the Environment and Culture and Tourism (These are the Festival themes).