Sign up to our newsletter Community Matters

Steyning for Trees: The Festival

What a great time we have had, culminating in the wonderful talk given by Dame E. J. Milner-Gulland, Professor of Biodiversity at Oxford University at Wiston.

This was sponsored by Mayo, Wynne, Baxter, expert local solicitors. We managed to fill the Great Hall, enjoyed our glass of wine and delicious quiche. Many thanks to Wilton Park staff and chef for giving up their time at the weekend. The reception was accompanied by Cathy Cobbold's lovely Sign Language Choir.

Nick Linfield told us about Wilton Park and the work they do for world peace.

EJ told us the story of saving the Saiga Antelope. It is now a beacon of hope for conservation although it was very much touch and go initially. It was great to see so many people enjoying this exclusive account first hand from EJ herself.

David Buckett told us about taking her and other SGS pupils to Dorset on field trips and I know he so enjoyed meeting his former pupil again.  She remembered her childhood when there was so much more biodiversity. I remember mine too, a lot further back! Getting up early in the morning and walking down our garden hedge that was buzzing with the sounds of birds, bees and other creatures, where has it all gone. Lets hope with people like EJ leading the way we can all help to leave a better future for wildlife and therefore future generations.

BUG HUNT for children at Shooting Field:
This was a sell-out and many thanks to David B and Fran for their knowledgeable explanations. So many of the children and their parents or grandparents were fascinated by what was found, enjoying the swishing of nets and expert explanations. Our old friend acer campestre (field maple) with a gentle shake produced plenty of bugs, what a wonderful host tree it is. They were then swished into nets,and tipped out onto trays for closer inspection. Many of the children were really engrossed by the whole process, definitely some budding environmentalists among them.

We had a good crowd for this and we explained about the various areas we passed and the different approaches , trees etc. we used to increase biodiversity there. This included our tree from the Queen's tree of trees outside Buckingham Palace, we were so honoured to receive this for our work. We look after it with care and it is growing well.

We supported Greening Steyning on the 1st Saturday with our stall. Our children's activity 'How to Become a Tree Trooper' was well supported. Again an educational game promoting deeper understanding of the advantages of tree planting. Lots of rosettes were won. We ended up with this lovely tree drawn by David, the leaves added after bark rubbing by the children. Many thanks to SFT committee, I think everyone contributed in different ways to this. It was much admired by other stallholders.

We were pleased that so many gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show were really emphasising their use of trees, creating some lovely shaded, atmospheric areas. Cool oasis for the ever increasing heat of climate change. Such an excellent example to follow, and so helpful too for biodiversity.

This is our lovely Cornus cousa claudia in our own rewilded garden. We removed a flowering cherry which had honey fungus and were advised by the RHS to plant Cornus (dogwood) as it is resistant to it. This is a cultivated derivative of a common British tree. It needs slightly acidic soil. We are lucky enough to have mainly neutral soil so can push it either way. It is such a joyously lovely tree.

We have been awarded a generous grant for the first time from the Rampion Community Benefit Fund, which is administered by Sussex Community Foundation who have supported us in the past.

We are very grateful for this recognition of tree and hedge/wildlife corridor planting contributing to fighting climate change.
Share this article

Content Managed by Your SteyningCrafted by Scaws