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Branching out: celebrating National Tree Week at the Science Oxford Centre

Tuesday 24th November 2020

Planting trees seems more important than ever under the current circumstances – a chance to create positive change.

This year we have been funded by the Tree Council Branching Out Fund to plant 25 trees in the 15-acre woodland surrounding our Science Oxford Centre in Headington. These will be dug in by a group of socially distanced volunteers at our Conservation Day event, at the end of National Tree Week. Why not come and join us?

National Tree Week – 28 November to 6 December – is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration, marking the start of the winter tree planting season. The week was established in 1975 to support national replanting of trees after the outbreak of Dutch Elm disease. Forty-five years later, upward of a quarter of a million people get together to plant trees over the seven days.

We will be planting five trees each from five varieties to create groves within the existing tree diversity in our woodland. We have chosen native species that are suited to the geology and topography of the site and complement those already there.

Not only will the trees help the environment but they will have long-term education benefits by involving local schools to identify, measure and monitor the growth of individual species. In the future, the seeds can be harvested and grown in their own grounds.

Science Oxford’s Learning and Ecology Manager Dr Roger Baker says: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to plant a number of established native trees in our woods for National Tree Week. Our woodland is dominated by ash trees that unfortunately face a rather uncertain future due to ash dieback disease which is changing the appearance of the nation’s forests. Thanks to the award of a Tree Council Branching Out grant, we have been able to purchase a number of established trees to add diversity and resilience to our outdoor space. The specimens of native species including Scots Pine, Whitebeam, Hornbeam, Lime and Alder will help replace any loss of Ash, provide excellent learning opportunities for our visitors and vital habitat for wildlife. We couldn’t do this without the Tree Council’s wonderful donation and the physical help of Oxford Conservation Volunteers (OCV) on the day to get the roots in the ground. Bigger trees need bigger holes so there will be lots to do!”

Get your hands dirty and come and join us and Oxford Conservation Volunteers (OCV) at our National Tree Week Conservation Day on 6 December (9.45 to 4pm). Great care is being taken to ensure the health and safety of all those involved in the day. There will be a socially distanced work party helping to get the trees safely in the ground and OCV will provide tools and training. There will also be a range of other conservation tasks to keep you busy! For more information, see National Tree Week Conservation Day.
Remember to let us know if you’re able to attend.

By the way, depending on Government announcements, we hope to be open again in December for our Science Oxford Family Open Days which include 2 hours in the Exploration Zone and you can spend as long as you want in the woodland! Come visit and see if you can spot our new trees for yourself, and watch this space for some fun festive events planned…

For more information, see What’s On.

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