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Steyning for Trees June 2024

Saturday 1st June 6.30 for 19:00 £12.50 including a glass of wine and canape 'The Saiga Saga, and Reasons to be Optimistic about Biodiversity'. Some of you may get this in time to grab the last tickets for our lovely event at Wiston House, for the Festival. Dame EJ Milner Gulland , Professor of Biodiversity at Oxford University. is coming to give a talk.

We are so pleased as she is a former pupil of SGS and was taught by David Buckett, SFT's co-chair. He is the reason she is coming.
With all the excitement of the Festival we mustn't forget what is going on out there to our woods, hedges and trees the Woodland Trust says 'Woods and trees, and the biodiverse eco-systems they create and support, are essential for our survival. Yet they are also under threat like never before. We are in the grip of an escalating nature and climate crisis and without urgent action we all face an uncertain future. Trees are felled for spurious reasons. Woods are destroyed for development. The number of new native trees being planted are falling short of targets set to redress the balance. WE can all see time is running out.'

Many thanks to all our volunteers and committee who are helping so much to put our ideas into action. Mike Wynne is helping us to reach our ambition of using mainly recycled materials by finding us pre-used spirals and canes. And so many, too many to mention, are keeping an eye on the progress of our hedge/wildlife corridors, making certain they grow well and therefore increasingly contribute (some of them now 5 years old) to our biodiverse eco-systems here. Also so many of you are looking after the over 100 trees planted on the verges, through SFT. Watering them, letting us know when they need more help renewing their environmental webbing ties. What an amazing community effort.
We do have concerns about our endangered species. Woodland Butterfly numbers are 47% lower than in 1990. Woodland bird numbers have dropped by nearly 37% since 1970. 1 in 4 wildlife species like the red squirrel is at risk of extinction. Because of this we try to plant a mix of native tree species as advised by the Woodland Trust.
We have been reading recently about the newly developed disease busting elm hybrids. Will these be able to support the endangered White Letter Hairstreak Butterfly, the elm is its host plant.? Native elms are dying when they reach 20 - 30ft. We have asked the SDNPA if they can let us have some, as the elms near us are dying.

The elm was such an iconic tree, a mainstay of England`s landscape until they all but disappeared in the 1970's because of Dutch Elm Disease, 25 million elms were felled. They are part of our history. They were probably introduced here by the Romans.

They are distinct from Wych Elms.
Elms of all kinds may be vulnerable to the Scolytus beetle, but are resistant to the Gribble worms that live in water, Therefore were ideal as keels for ships such as the Golden Hind.
Good luck to our scientists and universities that are working so hard to find answers to these threats to our endangered species, and therefore to our very existence.
Our tree this month is the wonderful Hawthorn, featured last month by our friend Michael Blencowe, remember his wonderful talk for SFT.

It is a mainstay of our hedgerows/wildlife corridors. Also chosen by some of you for your verge tree for its beautiful abundant blossom. It is a wonderful host plant to so many invertebrates and pollinators.

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