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Call for landowners to allow 2,000 trees to be planted



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A gym owner who has set up a volunteer tree planting community is searching for landowners who will let him plant up to 2,000 trees on their grounds.

Duncan Starr-Boltt, who owns a Crossfit gym in Milton, founded Cambridgeshire Tree Planting Community in the autumn of last year after becoming inspired to take positive action to help the environment.

Last week, the Cambridge Independent launched a new campaign, calling for 10,000 native trees to be planted on suitable sites in Cambridgeshire this year.

Tree planting by Cambridgeshire Tree Planting Community at Willow Grange Farm, Ely Rd, Chittering, from left some of the tree planters Ivan Teterevkov, Irina Teterevkova, Jasper Huxley, Lawrence Huxley, Rachel Huxley, Sam Medley and Molly Lambert. Picture: Keith Heppell.
Tree planting by Cambridgeshire Tree Planting Community at Willow Grange Farm, Ely Rd, Chittering, from left some of the tree planters Ivan Teterevkov, Irina Teterevkova, Jasper Huxley, Lawrence Huxley, Rachel Huxley, Sam Medley and Molly Lambert. Picture: Keith Heppell.

The county has one of the lowest proportions of tree cover in the country. Planting trees can help tackle climate change, aid wildlife and improve the natural scenery.

Simply by asking for help on social media, Duncan has been joined by dozens of volunteers to help with the hard work of digging the holes for the trees – but now he needs more land on which to plant the saplings.

He says: “There are a lot of people feeling anxious and frustrated about the environment and that’s important but we should be making a positive change to help people get physically involved in making a difference. I’m very concerned about the environment and when I plant a tree it feels like I’m doing something to help.

Tree planting by Cambridgeshire Tree Planting Community at Willow Grange Farm, Ely Rd, Chittering. Picture: Keith Heppell.
Tree planting by Cambridgeshire Tree Planting Community at Willow Grange Farm, Ely Rd, Chittering. Picture: Keith Heppell.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of interest this project has attracted. People are really keen to volunteer and we have already got about 2,000 trees to plant out before the end of the planting season in April. We’ve had some people offer corners of fields and their gardens for planting space, but what we need now is larger spaces so that we can plant all of the trees. If any land owners feel they could offer some space we would be delighted to hear from them.”

Last weekend the community planted 99 trees in a field in Chittering that the owner made available to them.

“We all had a great time and I really want to thank the volunteers for their hard work,” says Duncan.

Next weekend they plan to plant another 650 saplings at a farm in Willingham, and already the volunteer spaces are booked up.

Tree planting by Cambridgeshire Tree Planting Community at Willow Grange Farm, Ely Rd, Chittering, from left some of the tree planters Ivan Teterevkov, Irina Teterevkova, Jasper Huxley, Lawrence Huxley, Rachel Huxley, Sam Medley and Molly Lambert. Picture: Keith Heppell.
Tree planting by Cambridgeshire Tree Planting Community at Willow Grange Farm, Ely Rd, Chittering, from left some of the tree planters Ivan Teterevkov, Irina Teterevkova, Jasper Huxley, Lawrence Huxley, Rachel Huxley, Sam Medley and Molly Lambert. Picture: Keith Heppell.

“We are only planting native species,” says Duncan. “Tree and hedge planting not only will help absorb CO2, it also has great benefits for wildlife and the people who get to spend time growing and enjoying them over the years. Tree planting isn’t always the best natural system to absorb CO2 so our projects will be well managed and researched to come up with the best option for the environment and this includes selecting the correct species to plant.”

He is backing the Cambridge Independent’s campaign.

“I hope we can make a significant dent in that target,” he says. “The campaign is brilliant – I think tree planting is a really positive thing that members of the public can do for the environment.”

Can you help? Contact alex.spencer@iliffemedia.co.uk or call 01223 320320.



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