In June 2022 we will be celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee which will commemorate her reign of seventy years. The May Bank Holiday is being moved and extended to create a four-day break so that we will be able to celebrate this major event. Designed to be even more spectacular than the Diamond Jubilee one of the initiatives planned for 2022 and launched on the 17th May 2021, is a unique UK tree planting activity which basically asks people to plant a tree for the Jubilee. The idea is not only commemorating the event,but encouraging people to learn more about the best way of planting a tree and how to look after it.
A special map has been created to track the establishment of the trees all over the country. During her reign, the Queen has planted around 1500 trees all around the world. The tree planting programme will be a major part of Somerset’s contribution to this historic event and currently groups are working with the Lord-Lieutenant ‘s Office to co-ordinate possible activities. The first tree was planted by the Queen and the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle in March this year, during the planting season which runs from October until March.
School children around the county will also be encouraged to work towards a Junior Forester Award which will help them gain more knowledge about trees and how we can help the planet by planting as many as possible. It will also, it is hoped, provided them with information on forestry and possible career opportunities.
A copper beech tree has been planted close to the Cricket Pavilion at Balmoral. The plantings by the Queen include a Verdun Oak. These oaks, together with Verdun horse chestnut trees were first planted in this country after the end of the First World War. Acorns and chestnuts were collected after the battle at Verdun in France and then planted as memorials. Just a few of these trees can currently be found in the UK.
The battle which started on 21st February 1916 lasted until 18th December of the same year. The longest battle of the First World War, it was a bloody conflict which took place in the hills north of Verdun.
It is hoped that throughout the country schools, voluntary groups and bodies such as the police, fire and medical services will become involved in the Queen’s Green Canopy.
The Royal Commonwealth Society in Bath intends to become involved and will be putting together plans to recognise this major event in 2022. Villages and towns are also being encouraged to take part and parish and town councils are already putting together plans on what they intend to do. I understand that South Somerset Council is currently working on ideas and that the Woodland Trust are participating. If you will be interested in knowing more, then you should go to the website www.queensgreencanopy.org. Here you will find an enormous amount of information to help you on your way,
As well as the tree planting there will be a dedicated network of 70 ancient woodlands across the country and the identification of 70 ancient trees.
Somerset County Council have information on this amazing imitative and how it will help fight against climate change and reduce the damage to our environment.
The Lord Lieutenant of Somerset Annie Maw (our branch president) said: “This is a wonderful imaginative project, which will celebrate Her Majesty’s long reign in a way that will improve the environment and leave a positive and lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren”.
“I am personally absolutely committed to it and I hope that it will be taken up by people across Somerset with all the enthusiasm it is so richly deserves.”
The Woodland Trust will be providing free packs to schools and voluntary groups which will provide a plethora of helpful advice and answers to a range of questions. Information is also available on a number of social platforms including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
An excellent way of celebrating this event whilst at the same time doing something positive for the planet, the recent COP26 Conference has also highlighted the importance of acting now and not later.
Part of a much wider national call for action, this is an ideal way for communities and organisations to get involved. Together we can all make an impact on our environment whilst at the same time acknowledging this historic event.