Ribble Rivers Trust opens another community tree nursery

By Ribble Rivers Trust

08 Dec 2023

The site of the new and yet to be transformed Preston tree nursery.jpg.jpg

In a move towards greater sustainability, Ribble Rivers Trust is proud to announce the establishment of another groundbreaking community tree nursery at Let’s Grow Preston’s Grange Community Gardens, Preston.

This innovative initiative is designed to transform Lancashire’s landscape whilst engaging the community to secure a greener future for Lancashire’s woodlands.

Currently, the majority of the tens of thousands of trees we plant each year come from external growers. But now our team are pioneering a self-sustaining model. 

With the support of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, BAE Systems, Forestry England, and the countless garden centres and growers who have donated pots, tools, and old growing equipment for upcycling, our community tree nurseries are set to redefine how we connect with nature. Through this work we’re fostering local engagement and nurturing thousands of tree saplings destined for Lancashire’s future woodlands.

The uniqueness of our approach lies in the combination of tree nurseries, health walks, and tree seed collection. Originally designed as a partnership between East Lancashire NHS GPs and Ribble Rivers Trust, these walks aim to gently introduce individuals facing physical and mental health challenges to the outdoors. Additionally, by conducting walks in ancient woodlands during autumn, they also serve as the foundation for our tree seed collection.

In fact, all our seeds originate from these local ancient woodlands. By collecting seeds from these locations, we can ensure they are native tree species that have adapted over generations to thrive in the local climate and local soils. This commitment to provenance is vital, especially in the face of our changing climate.

However, the real magic unfolds in our community tree nurseries. Within these calm and relaxing sanctuaries, under the watchful eye of our dedicated volunteers, seeds become saplings. From acorn to oak, our volunteers are the lifeblood of this initiative. These amazing individuals undertake tasks ranging from weeding to watering and general maintenance.

The success of our community tree nurseries lies not just in numbers but in the diverse experiences of our volunteers. By tailoring sessions to accommodate varying levels of dexterity, attention spans, and physical strength, we are providing a dynamic, fulfilling, and valuable activity for all.

Within just one year, our community tree nurseries have yielded over 4,500 trees, and our sights are set higher with a target of 12,000 for the upcoming year. With over 25,000 seeds collected to date, we’re looking forward to some exponential growth. Then, this coming spring and summer we will introduce new species, adding to the biodiversity of our nurseries.

Looking ahead, our vision extends beyond the immediate future. With additional funding Ribble Rivers Trust can amplify our impact, enabling us to triple our tree production and create even more community managed nurseries. Additionally, we aim to target primary school pupils, integrating seed collection and sowing into our educational activities.

Lancashire Woodland Connect welcomes your support as we strive to create cleaner, greener spaces in Lancashire. Join us in cultivating a legacy that will stand the test of time, and let’s turn Lancashire green together!

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