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Chance to help make York’s Diamond shine

The Diamond Wood at the University's Heslington East campus. Photo by John Houlihan

University hosts Woodland Trust community tree planting event

The Woodland Trust is inviting University staff and students and the local community to take part in a huge tree-planting challenge which will see millions of trees planted in 2012.

As Jubilee Woods project Patron, HRH The Princess Royal planted a ceremonial oak tree at the University in September to officially declare the Diamond Wood open. Photo by Ian Martindale

As Jubilee Woods project Patron, HRH The Princess Royal planted a ceremonial oak tree at the University in September to officially declare the Diamond Wood open. HM The Queen has planted a Jubilee tree at her Sandringham estate and celebrities such as Dame Judi Dench and Dermot O'Leary have supported the project.

The woodland conservation charity wants people to claim their place in history by helping to create North Yorkshire's prestigious new Diamond Wood at the University’s Heslington East campus.

The tree-planting event on Sunday, 25 November at Kimberlow Hill, is part of the Trust's Jubilee Woods project. The goal is to plant six million trees in 2012 to mark Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and to improve our natural environment by creating homes for wildlife and new woods for generations to enjoy.

Participants' efforts on the planting day will be recorded in the 'Royal Record' - a book of all the new trees and woods - which will be handed to HM The Queen and the British Library at the end of the project.

Communities, schools and landowners have been planting trees and signing up to help all year, and so far the project is halfway to the target. This planting season is the last push to plant the remaining three million trees.

The new woods will provide local communities with all the benefits trees have to offer, including cleaner air, access to green spaces, reduced risk of flooding, improved habitat for wildlife, and something to pass on for future generations to cherish.

The 60 acre site at Kimberlow Hill on the University’s new £750 million Heslington East campus extension will support a wide range of wildlife, as well as providing a fantastic area for the local York community to enjoy. So far, the University has planted 55,000 native British trees on the site, and will plant another 10,000 with the local community this month.

Georgina McLeod, Director of Jubilee Woods at the Woodland Trust, said: "We very much hope that people will come to join us in planting this exciting new woodland and in paying a very special tribute to the Queen, while at the same time creating something living and lasting to hand on to future generations. Not only is this a chance to celebrate the Queen’s reign, it is also a chance for communities to come together, and of course tree planting is great fun for kids."

Elizabeth Heaps, the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Estates and Strategic Projects, said: "On Heslington East we have created a number of new habitats, including areas of wetland, species-rich grassland and native woodland, with the boundary of the site marked by important retained hedgerows, all of which is greatly improving the biodiversity. We hope our new Diamond Wood at Kimberlow Hill will inspire a love of trees and woods, and provide an area for the York community to enjoy for generations to come."

We hope our new Diamond Wood at Kimberlow Hill will inspire a love of trees and woods, and provide an area for the York community to enjoy for generations to come

Elizabeth Heaps, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Estates and Strategic Projects

Georgina McLeod said: “In just 10 years the trees will be taller than the average person and the woodland will be full of wildlife for many people to enjoy. We can only make this exciting and ambitious project successful with everyone’s help. We want to give people the chance to plant trees and we’re appealing to our supporters, community groups, individuals, organisations and businesses to help make this happen by coming forward and helping us achieve the six million tree target. More trees means cleaner air, better water quality, more homes for wildlife and more green spaces to visit, play in, and pass on for our children and grandchildren to enjoy."

It is not just about marking the Diamond Jubilee: planting woods will help create valuable habitats for native species. The UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe with just 13 per cent woodland cover compared to an average of 44 per cent. Woodland conservation comes hand-in-hand with woodland creation, protecting what precious woodland we have, while creating more for the future.

The University of York community tree-planting event will take place on Sunday 25, November from 11am – 1pm at Kimberlow Hill, Heslington East Campus. People wishing to take part are advised to bring wellington boots or stout footwear and wrap up warm. It would be helpful to bring a spade. For further details, contact Dominic Sweeting on dominicsweeting@woodlandtrust.org.uk, telephone 0844 334 5403, or mobile 07720 808 754.

Further information

  • Directions to the tree-planting event: From the A64, take the A1079/Hull Road past Grimston Bar Park and Ride and follow the signs for the University (post code for sat nav - YO10 5JL). Parking will be available on campus but please walk, car share or use public transport where possible.
  • The Jubilee Woods project
  • The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading charity championing native woods and trees. It has 300,000 members and supporters. The Trust has three key aims: i) to enable the creation of more native woods and places rich in trees ii) to protect native woods, trees and their wildlife for the future iii) to inspire everyone to enjoy and value woods and trees. Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to its sites is free.
  • The University of York’s £750 million campus extension at Heslington East is one of the biggest capital developments in UK higher education in recent years. Its development was supported by investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in Yorkshire and the Humber, part of a major infrastructure project led by Science City York to extend the assets and strategic potential of York as a leading centre for science and innovation. Visit www.york.ac.uk/campus-development/