People across the UK are being invited to take part in a massive tree-planting drive to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee — as 2022 will mark her 70th year on the throne.
The Queen’s Green Canopy campaign, which launched on May 17, is encouraging individuals, schools, businesses, and local councils to take part.
When launching the campaign, Prince Charles said in a video message: "Whether you are an individual hoping to plant a single sapling in your garden, a school or community group planting a tree, a council, charity, or business intending to plant a whole avenue of trees, or a farmer looking to create new hedgerows, everyone across the country can get involved."
Planting will officially begin in October 2021, which is the start of the winter tree-planting season, and carry on through to the end of 2022. Participants will be able to log the details of their tree in an interactive map.
Leading the initiative is the climate charity Cool Earth, which is responsible for protecting forests all over the world. It is being run in partnership with the Woodland Trust, a UK conservation charity, and the UK government.
The Woodland Trust will also be donating 3 million free saplings to schools and community groups that want to take part.
The Queen’s Green Canopy campaign will also identify 70 ancient woodlands that need protection in Britain, as well as 70 important ancient trees, to represent the Queen’s 70 years as monarch.
Matthew Owen, the director of Cool Earth, told ITV: "We recognise as a nation that we have a huge number of challenges ahead of us in terms of the climate crisis, and to be honest the best technology we have for sucking carbon out of the air is the tree.”
He added that if everyone in Britain planted just one tree, including the estimated 22 million people who have access to their own garden, “we’d be in a far better place to address that [climate change].”
Today marks the launch of The Queen’s Green Canopy, a tree planting initiative to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 and to enhance our environment now, and for generations to come. 🌳 🌱— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) May 17, 2021
The initiative invites people to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”! @qgcanopypic.twitter.com/okkwwhBrIi
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative was a “fitting tribute” to the Queen’s reign. "Our trees stand at the front line of our fight against climate change and by sustaining our beautiful countryside for generations to come,” he added.
Prince Charles told the BBC that it was important that people choose to plant the right kind of trees, while campaigners are encouraging the public to choose trees native to Britain that will thrive in this environment. Information about how and when to plant can be found on the initiative’s website.
He added in his video message that throughout the Queen’s reign she has officially planted more than 1,500 trees all over the world.
Planting a tree is a “profoundly symbolic act,” Prince Charles continued, because it is a “statement of hope and faith in the future.”
Separately to this campaign, the UK government is developing plans to treble tree planting rates over the next three years until 2024, the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has announced.
The environment secretary George Eustice is expected to announce a new target on May 18 for his department to plant 7,000 hectares of new woodland every year.
“We will make sure that the right trees are planted in the right places and that more green jobs are created in the forestry sector,” he added.