Volunteers needed to help Forest for Peterborough project branch out over the winter months

Officers behind the Forest for Peterborough project are calling for your help so they can reach their target of planting 10,000 trees during the winter planting season.

The 20 year programme, spearheaded by Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), aims to plant one new tree for each member of Peterborough’s population.

Rather than being situated in one place, it’s envisaged the forest will consist of a number of wooded corridors connecting different areas of the city.

The project, launched by television personality and nature enthusiast Clive Anderson in 2010, will enable Peterborough’s communities to enjoy woodland in years to come.  So far 49,000 trees have been planted with support from PECT’s partners around the city.

The first planting session of the season is at Grange Farm, in Wittering, near Peterborough, on Saturday 9th November.

The event, which runs from 10am to 4pm, is open to everyone. Experts will be on hand to teach people how to plant the trees, a mix of hawthorn, alder, elm, silver birch and beech. All sessions are free to attend and tea, coffee and other refreshments will be provided.

Forest for Peterborough project officer for PECT, Ben Middleton, said: “We want to give Forest for Peterborough an extra big push this year and we need the people of Peterborough to help us out. If you can make it along please do get in touch with us.

“If the project team reach the target of 10,000 trees for 2013/14 it will be the most planted in one year to date. The project has come a really long way since 2010 and every site we’ve worked in has a management programme in place to ensure it’s maintained for at least the next fifteen years, when the trees will be big enough to walk under.”

Ben added: “We will be starting off at Grange Farm which is a very important site for us.  The area where we will be planting is really close to Bedford Purlieus National Nature Reserve which has really important historical significance with links back to Roman times. We want to create a new wildlife corridor here.”

If you plan to go to a Forest for Peterborough event then the advice is to wrap up warm and wear sturdy footware. Gloves and spades will be provided, but bring your own if possible.

Planting days are subject to weather conditions. Planting days will run throughout the winter until March.

Clare Foster from Fletton, Peterborough, who volunteered for Forest for Peterborough in 2012, said: “It’s a unique opportunity to literally help in shaping our city. During the planting it was interesting to learn about the importance of trees and to visualise the shape that the forest would eventually take. I have been back several times to check on the trees progress”.

Register for each planting session in advance using www.greeniversity.org.uk, or turn up on the day.

For up to date information visit the Forest for Peterborough Facebook page (search for Forest for Peterborough) on the morning of the plant.

You can also support the project financially with the text appeal; simply text PECT20 £3 (or however much you wish to donate) to 70070. All of your donation will go straight to the Forest for Peterborough. Visit www.justtextgiving.org.uk for full terms and conditions.

For further information call Ben Middleton on 01733 866455 or email [email protected]