Local people say ‘thank you’ by planting trees

Over 10,000 trees to be planted across West Midlands to commemorate First World War.

Tree planting events are set to take place around the West Midlands as part of an ambitious UK-wide project by the Woodland Trust to mark the centenary of the First World War.

10,170 saplings have been delivered to schools and community groups across the West Midlands that will now be planted as part of local events organised to thank those affected by the War that broke out in 1914.

The saplings will grow to create new woodland, hedgerows and memorial areas that can be enjoyed by both people and wildlife. They will provide a lasting tribute to all those who made sacrifices in the First World War in the hope of securing a brighter future for the next generation.

In this centenary year, the Woodland Trust believes creating thousands of acres of life-giving native woodland, and dedicating trees to loved ones or local heroes, is the best way of saying ‘thank you’ to those involved.

TV personality and wildlife enthusiast Michaela Strachan recently dedicated trees to her grandparents. She said: “My grandmother, Evelyn Hurd, died recently at the grand old age of 101. She was a legend. My grandfather, Richard Hurd, died in 1997, and was a real character! They lived through two world wars and must’ve seen so many changes in their lives, especially to the landscape.

“I wanted to do something lasting in their memories, so dedicating trees to them through the Woodland Trust seemed a very fitting tribute. I love the fact their memory will be in the heart of a future wood supporting so much wildlife and will be there for many, many years to come.”

Saplings for the local planting events have been supplied by the UK’s leading tree conservation charity, through its Free Trees scheme. They will contribute to the millions of trees being planted across the UK as part of the Trust’s Centenary Woods project – one of the most ambitious in the Woodland Trust’s history – where by 2018 four memorial Centenary woods will be created in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

John Tucker, the Woodland Trust’s Woodland Creation Director, said: “It is wonderful to hear about the tree planting events in the West Midlands, and the touching stories about the war heroes they’re set to give thanks to. Whether planted for a family member, former school pupil or well-loved member of a community, each tree will represent a special individual or group of people.

“Currently the UK has significantly less woodland cover than the rest of Europe. Local tree planting events help us work toward our target of doubling the amount of native woodland we have, and what better way of securing future woodland cover, than by dedicating trees to and creating woods for those who sacrificed so much for us during the First World War.”

More information about how to dedicate a tree, the Woodland Trust’s Centenary Woods project and Free Trees scheme, by visiting www.woodlandtrust.org.uk