Buckinghamshire trees are beautiful, fun to climb, relaxing company and they quietly work extremely hard for us all, removing 180 thousand tonnes of carbon from our county’s air every year.
Linked to the Bucks Tree Mission* to create a greener, cleaner future for everyone in the county, Wild Pear CIC and Chiltern Rangers CIC created an unique and poetic project, Sowing to the Seeds to a Net Zero Carbon.
As part of the project, in Autumn 2021, young people and children at Alfriston and Kingswood Schools were taught how to harvest and nurture tree seeds from their local woods. Over the winter, they revisited the woods to explore the hidden life of trees – how they communicate through their root systems, and live together in community – through drawing and animation. As human curiosity was developing above ground, the natural magic was happening under the soil: Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Spindle, Field Maple, Beech and Oak were some of around 100 seeds that germinated under the protection of hand-made tree cages, and popped up in the spring. These seedlings remain on school grounds or have been gifted out to the community to be nurtured into saplings, with the first cluster lovingly received by St Andrews Church this May. Watch this short video showing students at Alfriston School seed processing.
With each tree absorbing around one tonne of carbon over its lifetime, and each human adult producing around ten tonnes of carbon a year, trees are one of many important natural solutions to our carbon problems. Wild Pear and Chiltern Rangers vision is that Bucks Tree Mission might become an even more ambitious, shared council/community endeavour. The 200 plus schools in Buckinghamshire, and our many community groups could nurture tens of thousands of trees and tens of thousands of curious minds, enabling a ‘tree care culture’ to flourish in our county. This would ensure our trees have long and healthy lives that they deserve and we depend on.
Schools are invited to take part, from collecting and harvesting tree seeds from local woods and preparing to plant them in the Autumn, to putting seedlings in individual pots in the Spring and sharing with land owners and community groups in the Winter. Young people get to play a part in preserving and conserving one of our most precious natural resources while learning lots of new skills.
*Bucks Tree Mission was a pledge by Buckinghamshire Council in 2021 to plant a tree for every woman, man and child living here, and support tree planting initiatives through Community Board funding. ‘Sowing the Seeds to a Net Zero Carbon’ is one of these initiatives and was funded by High Wycombe and Beaconsfield & Chepping Wye Community Boards.