“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago: the second-best time is now.” (Chinese proverb)
Throughout the centuries, the UK has seen massive deforestation of this once ‘green and pleasant land’.
The contribution of trees to the survival of the planet can’t be overestimated. Not only do they absorb carbon from polluted air, and in doing so lower its temperature, but also reduce the risk of flooding by absorbing water from the soil. Their roots, bark, trunk and branches, are a haven for a diversity of wildlife.
A nationwide effort aimed at replacing lost trees and woodlands was launched during 2020. Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s (RMBC) tree planting initiative exceeded its 2021-22 target of 500 trees by 21,639. Including the loss of 2,593 diseased or dead trees, this effort represents a net gain of 19,546 trees across the Borough. Individuals and community groups were invited to join the project.
After months of planning, Rotherham u3a Woodland became a reality on 24th November, when members gathered in Herringthorpe Valley Park to witness or take part in planting trees, including 21, standard trees of silver birch, bird cherry and rowan (seven of each) plus assorted whips to a total value of £1,000.
The RMBC Tree and Woodland team, led by Rebecca Dickinson, provided advice and practical support throughout, including choice of site and varieties of trees most suited to the location, practical assistance with spacing and planting of trees, free biodegradable protective tree sleeves and a marquee for serving refreshments.
Back to that Chinese proverb. Much like the best time plant the tree, the best to join the Rotherham u3a is also now. For all u3a activities and news, visit www.u3asites.org.uk/rotherham or contact Sue Cable on 01709 379379.