During National Tree Week 2018 I’m taking a minute to reflect on what trees mean to me and to encourage others to plant, protect and preserve trees in the Lake District National Park.
I am not going to lie, waking up knowing you are going tree planting is enough to motivate anyone to get out of bed. With autumn upon us and winter on its way tree planting season is coming, with nurseries across the country starting to pull bare-rooted whips in anticipation of an army of planters getting equipped across the lands.
Here at Rusland Horizons our volunteers and apprentices have thousands of native locally sourced trees to plant over the next few months in this unique part of the National Park. It’s a fun way to do your bit to help the environment, get your hands dirty, meet like-minded people and leave a legacy of the day.
We have a responsibility for ensuring the future of our woodlands; increasing diversity, age and structure and making them more resilient against pests, diseases and changes in climate. With the vast majority of trees in the UK planted post war and one of the lowest percentages of woodland cover in Europe, it’s never been more important to increase the number of young trees growing in the landscape. In keeping with the local area we are under-planting and creating hazel, oak, birch, cherry, rowan and Scots Pine to help provide a future food source for our native Red Squirrel.
Planting an Oak tree knowing it might be there in 1000 years is a brilliant way to spend a day off, a spare few hours or a lifetime which some hardy souls choose to dedicate their lives to.
I think about the thousands of trees I’ve planted over the years and wonder how many have made it through those first few years struggle, spreading their roots, competing for space, light and nutrients and battling against diseases, pests and predators.
I also wonder how many lichens, bryophytes, insects, birds, mammals and maybe even humans have made their home in the woodlands I have planted, how much carbon has been stored, how the air quality has improved in those areas and how many folk have been inspired to go out and enjoy the peace and tranquillity woodlands can offer on for a Sunday afternoon wander when the weather is fine.
So why not get involved? Our practical volunteer days are once a month from our office in Haverthwaite. Please contact us for more information.
Dougie Watson, Woodlands and Wildlife Officer, Rusland Horizons