4,000 tree saplings distributed to over 60 landowners thanks to £2,000 of crowd-funding

A tree-rescuing campaign that raised £2,000 has already distributed 4,000 tree saplings to over 60 landowners in Cambridgeshire.

Earlier in the year, Ely & Cambridge XR (Extinction Rebellion)’s ‘3000 trees’ campaign launched a fundraising appeal to purchase 3,000 oak saplings that were due to be destroyed by a tree nursery in Wales. 

One of the project organisers, Jethro Gauld, said: “We wanted to do something to prevent such a massive waste of saplings and help create a post-covid good news story to benefit local people and wildlife.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you from the trees and us to all the generous donors of funds and land for planting.” 

The sapling distribution was done in accordance with government guidelines regarding outdoor voluntary activities, with limited numbers of people at any one time, hand sanitiser, social distancing and face coverings.

During the summer, the group ran a number of socially-distanced tree guard recycling task days in the run up to planting season after obtaining permission to remove tree guards from several established planting schemes around the county.

In total the group salvaged nearly 2,000 guards for the project, saving enough money to allow the group to purchase an additional 1,000 sapling mix of hawthorn, hazel, field maples and alder to supplement the 3,000 oaks.

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Another organiser, Kevin Hand, who for many years ran the government-backed National Tree Week, saidL “We hope this will highlight all the positive, creative work which XR groups do to combat climate heating and extinction of wildlife, locally and globally.

“The Covid-19 crisis can be viewed as yet another symptom of us humans interacting negatively with nature, with its origins appearing to be in the human consumption of bush meat and the over-exploitation of ecosystems.

“Sadly, unless we urgently change course, the ultimate effects of the climate crisis will be much worse than the current global pandemic”.

He added that, apart from saving the saplings, part of the idea behind the project was to “help people cement a re-connection with nature that so many experienced during the summer lockdown”.

The group also thought it would be a good way to offer people the opportunity to commemorate loved ones and pay tribute to key workers who have helped through the ongoing pandemic.

One recipient said that he intended to use some of the saplings to continue the legacy of his father in restoring ancient hedgerows on the family farm.

For anyone interested in tree planting and receiving some free oak saplings, a parallel national campaign, headed by Cambridge filmmaker James Murray-White and run through Extinction Rebellion Rewilding (XRR), is planning to distribute 30,000 saplings to various community groups across England and Wales in the new year.

These oak saplings will be distributed from five hubs across the country and the Cambridge hub is still looking for homes for approximately 2,000 saplings in the region. Saplings can be requested via a page on their website.