NewsTree Wardensa woman digs into the ground with a spade to plant a tree

In September, The Tree Council’s national Tree Warden Scheme turns thirty!

The volunteer Tree Warden Scheme started with a few community-minded local people in Leicestershire and East Sussex who wanted to plant and care for their local trees. From there, The Tree Council has grown the scheme from strength to strength to include of thousands of volunteers across the country, growing all the time, just like an oak in its prime. Over the last 30 years, dedicated and passionate Tree Wardens around the country have:

  • Planted and cared for tens of millions of trees
  • Saved and rejuvenated woodlands for community benefit
  • Created vital community orchards for communities in built-up and disadvantaged areas
  • Dedicated millions of hours of volunteer time
  • Inspired successive generations to stand up for their local trees
  • Brought the community together around trees through public events
  • Stood up for trees by engaging in local advocacy
  • Worked with their local authority to establish and care for our precious street trees

And much, much more. This wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication of you, remarkable Tree Wardens. We’re so proud that some Tree Warden Networks have been around since the very beginning and are still going strong. Others are newer and just as fantastic, and each network has its own way of doing things but what unites them is a deep-rooted commitment to their local trees.

A year-long celebration

We will be celebrating with a year-long programme of events. Tree Wardens have come up with a whole host of fantastic ideas of ways to mark this milestone. Just some of the ideas include: providing fruit trees for people’s gardens and teaching them to graft from them; pledging to plant a tree from every year of our lives; planting 30 trees in every parish, working more closely with churchyards to plant trees, every network to recruit 30 new Tree Wardens and many, many more. We hope networks around the country will take forward their own projects to celebrate.

30 disease-resistant elm to mark 30 years

Thanks to an inspired suggestion from Tree Wardens in Broadland, Norfolk, The Tree Council is delighted to be giving away one commemorative disease-resistant elm to the first 30 Tree Warden networks to apply. Ulmus ‘New Horizon’ along with other resistant varieties have shown that they can withstands many challenges include – floods, sub-zero temperatures, inner city pollution, poor soils, central reservations and salt-laden coastal roadsides! Unlike other new cultivars that have succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease, New Horizon is not affected and is great for wildlife too. As The Tree Council was originally set up to help recover from the devastating impacts of the disease, it seems very fitting to mark 30 years of our volunteers’ efforts by planting trees that will thrive over the next 30 years (and for longer of course!).

Speak to your fellow Tree Wardens and consider whether your community would benefit from a commemorative elm. We’ll share more details on how to apply in the coming weeks.

From tiny acorns, mighty oak trees grow

One of the most popular tree warden suggestions and our special focus in this anniversary year will be growing the trees of the future from seed – a wonderful metaphor for the lasting legacy and bright future of the Tree Warden Scheme.

Many of you are already gathering local seed and creating tree nurseries either in your own homes or at a community site. We’d love to hear your experiences and build up a bank of case studies so that you can share your knowledge, to learn from others and inspire those who need a little help to get going. Please get in touch to share your story.

One of the biggest challenges of seed growing projects is finding a suitable host site once they are ready to be planted out. We will work with you and local partners to identify local sites that will benefit from the trees. It’s so important at this time of global climate crisis not to lose sight of the ‘Right Tree, Right Place, for the Right Purpose’ mantra. Planting out will begin from 2023, exactly fifty years after The Tree Council’s ‘Plant a Tree in ’73’ initiative which brought the nation together, for the love of trees.

Tendring Tree Wardens to plant 30,000 commemorative hedgerow trees

Tree Wardens in Tendring, Essex, are bringing together residents, local authority teams and Tree Wardens to plant an amazing 30,000 hedgerow trees to mark 30 years. This will result in an impressive six kilometres of new hedgerow, providing new wildlife corridors, contributing to the county’s efforts to mitigate carbon emissions and providing fruit through the planting of historic varieties of Essex fruit trees.

BBC Gloucestershire’s ‘Ourboretum’ – 2020 trees grown from seed in 2020

We’re proud to be supporting a fantastic grassroots project led by BBC Gloucestershire to encourage residents to grow and plant 2020 trees from seed, creating a county-wide ‘Ourboretum’. The Ourboretum aims to help address the impact of ash dieback and ensure a thriving treescape for the future. Cotswold Tree Wardens have been involved, and we’re exploring how we could make this fantastic initiative a nationwide campaign supported by Tree Wardens!

Get involved with the Tree Wardens’ 30th anniversary

Ready to help us mark this milestone and lay down roots for the future of trees and tree wardening?

  • JOIN US BY PLANNING A SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY SEED GROWING PROJECT

If you’d like to grow trees from seed as part of this national commemorative project, let us know [link to Google Form] and we’ll be in touch with more ideas and support. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small – every tree grown and planted from seed lays down the roots for a more tree-filled future.

  • DO YOUR OWN THING – WE’D LOVE TO HELP

Got your own idea for a commemorative project? Great! Tell us about it so we can explore how we can help support and promote your anniversary project. Get in touch.

  • HELP US SET GOALS FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS

Next time you gather with your network, take a moment to explore this question- ‘what would I like Tree Wardens to achieve in the next thirty years?’ Share your thoughts with us, and we will collate these to create a ‘dream board’ for the next thirty years of Tree Wardening.

Whilst some of us may be heading towards being veteran (trees) ourselves, in the timescale of an oak, the Tree Warden Scheme is still a youngster. This 30th anniversary is an opportunity to grow the scheme even further – and start to spread our own acorns to inspire the next generations and the ones coming after, to care about trees.