We got the following email from the One Million Trees in One Day people this morning, announcing a last minute change to the planting date, which will now be SATURDAY 27TH APRIL. Apologies to anyone who was planning to come along – we hope you can make it on the new date.
Email from One Million Trees –
Yesterday turned out to be one of the most difficult days we have yet had working on the project but also one of the most exciting and I hope that this update will give all of you the details you need to know for the moment. I will update all of you again shortly but for now we have a bit of news…
I was called to meetings yesterday regarding a paperwork delay on a couple of our flagship sites. This is a knock on effect of the Ash die-back disease which stopped a lot of paperwork processing and groundwork across the entire forestry industry and which almost stopped the One Million Trees in One Day project entirely back in the autumn. The team have fought hard since November to ensure that the project could continue, that we could supply enough trees without ash and that the project could still reach its targets and standards comfortably.
The paperwork delay involves unavoidable and mandatory clearing periods a bit like planning permissions and means that we must postpone planting until Saturday 27th April. We are disappointed that the paperwork was delayed entering the clearing periods due to general processing delays across the industry. The good news though is that these sites will be some of our most significant in terms of establishing native woodlands under ideal conditions and with access for the public both for the great planting event and for the future and we are absolutely determined to do them really really well.
This date technically falls outside the traditional planting season for native trees, however, we are extremely lucky to be working with nurseries who provide a cold storage facility for the trees. The million trees have been lifted from the ground and are now stored, fully dormant in their winter state, for later planting. This means that we can plant in April with no negative effect on the trees. This late planting of trees has become common practice across the industry with modern cold store use and our planned date change has the full support of our consultants across the industry as being the most practical alternative to delaying until next winter.
I realise that this will be a big change for some of you and it was certainly a difficult day here in the office given that the rest of project is ready to go for next week.
Having worked out a new date and telephoned through to the whole team to pass on the news, I received a call from the Global office for Earth Hour, which is an international initiative run by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) where about 1 billion people each year turn off their lights for an hour to save electricity and to reduce environmental impact.
They have asked One Million Trees in One Day to become a part of their “I Will If You Will” campaign which involves pledges from governments and organisations across the world to complete projects that benefit the environment and which inspire hope for the future. One Million Trees in One Day will be the biggest international pledge ever made through Earth Hour and will reach an audience of many millions across the globe. That this project has been created entirely by volunteers and brought all the way to the point of production by the people and communities of Ireland working together across every county makes it a remarkable story and one which leads Earth Hour to want to make it a high profile event. After what seemed like a terrible day for bad news, this cheered up the team no end and I hope it will cheer everyone up to see this huge project gain international exposure and recognition.
As next week was due to be the busiest in terms of raising awareness across Ireland and securing final donations to reach our funding targets, we will keep to this and aim to raise the profile of the project further and be sure that we raise all of the money needed to deliver every last tree. Your work locally has been so important to the project and I hope that you can all help to spread word of the change of date and indeed keep spreading the word about the project in general.
I realise that the change of plan will mean adjustments for everyone involved and I hope that in some cases the extra time will be a help to us. I will be out on the road as normal over the next few weeks visiting as many of you as I can and speaking to others of you on the phone to be sure that all preparations continue smoothly and that everyone has the support they need with their planting.
This project is made possible by all of you who are offering land and practical help to the project and without you it would literally not exist. Thank you for all that you have done to make this happen and looking forward to the last few weeks of organisation to get us to the final day of planting.”