The Great British Elm Experiment
name of school receives its special tree for Spring
(Insert school name/town) has been chosen as one of the first 250 schools to take part in The Conservation Foundation’s Great British Elm Experiment. Successive generations of pupils will be monitoring and caring for an elm tree over the years from sapling upwards in an experiment to unlock the mystery of why some trees survived Dutch elm disease which killed 25 million elms from the 1960s onwards.
The young trees will be sent out during the first week of March, the start of Spring in the International Year of Biodiversity. Schools will be asked to log their elm’s progress over the years on the Conservation Foundation website www.conservationfoundation.co.uk. Height, girth, biodiversity and any signs of Dutch elm disease will be recorded and it is hoped that with time – and luck - a new generation of elms will become established throughout the country and a new generation will be encouraged to have an interest in elms and biodiversity.
Says (name), (position) of (school name) “We are delighted to have been chosen to be one of the first schools to join the experiment. We applied for an elm because……….” Perhaps add details here of the children who will be looking after it etc.
This new national elm planting campaign is using young trees propagated from mature healthy native elms which The Conservation Foundation has discovered still growing in the English countryside. It is part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of Elms Across Europe, the project which led to the setting up of the Foundation by David Shreeve and David Bellamy in 1982.
Hundreds of schools, community gardens, local authorities and landowners contacted The Conservation Foundation when The Great British Elm Experiment was announced last autumn. The first 250 schools were chosen to give a broad geographical spread with different environmental conditions. More young trees will be available in the autumn.
Each small tree will be accompanied by a certificate showing its species and the location of its parent tree and a poster with growing tips and project ideas. Further materials will be added to The Conservation Foundation website which will report on the experiment as it develops. The data recorded will be reviewed by an ‘Elm Advisory Group’, made up of elm experts and enthusiasts, which the Foundation hopes to establish.
“We want to interest a new generation in the elm, so much a feature of the British life and landscape for centuries and also to try and find out why some trees survived Dutch elm disease,” says David Shreeve. He continues, “So many have disappeared over recent years that we can only hope to replace some. But rather than just give up and forget the elm, we think it’s worth a try.”
More information on The Great British Elm Experiment on www.conservationfoundation.co.uk
NOTE TO EDITORS:
The Great British Elm Experiment is supported by The Berkeley Reafforestation Trust and the Scotshill Trust. The propagation stage was supported by funding from the Tubney Trust.
The parent elms are located at Boxworth, Cambridgeshire; Castle Acre, Norfolk; Colesden, Bedfordshire; East Meon, Hampshire; Hatley St. George, Cambridgeshire; Keyston, Cambridgeshire.
The species being sent to the schools are Ulmus minor, Ulmus x vegeta and Ulmus glabra
The 250 schools receiving saplings are spread throughout the UK from Garve in Ross-shire to Penzance in Cornwall.
The young elms have been raised by Martin Day at Mill House Nursery in Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire. They are being distributed to schools by Trees Direct of Totterton, Shropshire.
The Conservation Foundation was founded in 1982 by David Shreeve and David Bellamy to promote positive environmental news, awareness and action. Since then it has created and managed a large number of initiatives involving a wide range of environmental issues.
Press contact details for school
Conservation Foundation: For further press information and photographs please contact: Lindsay Swan on 07961 181982