A group of schoolchildren pitched in to help plant the last crop of hundreds of trees in Felixstowe as part of a biodiversity boosting initiative.
Classmates from Fairfield Infant and Colneis Junior School joined the East Suffolk Norse grounds and maintenance team to plant the final batch of 300 whips beside the public car park in Golf Road.
Along with a total of 30 standard trees, the young seed grown whips have been planted as part of an effort enhance the landscape and encourage natural regrowth for generations to come.
The planting programme follows a successful joint application to the Local Authority Treescapes Fund (LATF) by East Suffolk Council (ESC) and Suffolk County Council, along with other district and boroughs, through the Forestry Commission, and will see 7,526 trees planted across the county.
As well as the planting, LATF funding of £138,219 will also cover three years of maintenance.
The LATF opened in 2021, as part of the government’s Nature for Climate Fund, to support the planting and maintenance of 260,000 trees outside existing woodlands.
In Felixstowe, staff from ESC’s grounds and countryside maintenance partners, East Suffolk Norse, focused planting in spaces between the mature maple trees to the front of the carpark – expanding the woodland to the northeast, with a temporary chestnut panel fence installed to protect the new whips.
Following a talk by East Suffolk Norse Countryside Manager, Chris Ryde, the 10 local schoolchildren helped on site with digging, planting, staking and mulching for the final whips.
Last year, the same children submitted a video to the Council in response to a later rejected planning application for the removal of a number of trees.
After a preliminary ecology report, undertaken by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, suggested that the biodiversity of the site could be improved, it was chosen as an ideal spot for the LATF project.
Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk Council cabinet member for the Environment, said:
“Key to our environmental commitment as a local authority is the championing and protection of trees as much as possible.
“This is another example of adding to our surrounding nature, rather than taking from it.
“I’d like to thank grounds staff for their tremendous efforts in planting these trees over the course of just two days. Special thanks also go to the local schoolchildren for getting stuck in and showing their passion for the environment.”
The new trees are a variety of species, mainly bearing fruits and berries edible to wildlife, and will be regularly watered and surveyed to monitor improvements in biodiversity.
The standard trees have been used to fill in gaps in the avenues and throughout the woodland, whereas the whips will provide cover and support for wildlife.
A temporary fence has been erected to protect the new planting from the northern side until the planting is more established.
The project will also serve as a pilot project for the development of a wider Tree Strategy for East Suffolk Council.