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From the blog

PECT’s tree planting project creates a healthier community

by Libby Polkey

PECT’s tree planting project Forest for Peterborough was launched in 2010. Our aim is to plant 230,000 trees by 2030. So far, over 100,000 trees have been planted with the support of more than 3,000 volunteers, which is an incredible achievement from local residents, groups, businesses and schools.

Already, the project has strengthened the local community and empowered volunteers to make a lasting change. The trees planted so far have absorbed an estimated 1,300 tonnes of carbon from the environment, through a process known as ‘carbon sequestration’. During this process, growing trees capture and store carbon, whilst releasing oxygen back into the environment.

Over the next decade, our goal is to plant enough trees to reach our target of one tree for every person living in the city. With the continued support of our dedicated volunteers, alongside local charities and partners, we are on track to meet this target. Soon enough, the trees we’ve planted will grow tall enough to walk under, creating green spaces for wildlife to flourish.

In 2020, the Forest for Peterborough project was fortunate enough to receive a grant of £117,100, as one of the first environmental projects across the country to receive funding from the £80m Green Recovery Challenge Fund. During the pandemic, access to nature has been vital for our health and wellbeing. The fund will protect our natural environment, whilst creating and retaining thousands of jobs across the country. The Forest for Peterborough project is creating accessible green spaces for both the local community and nature to thrive.

In February 2021, I joined PECT as a Natural Environment Trainee to help deliver the Forest for Peterborough project. Alongside PECT’s Natural Environment Lead, I’ll be planting trees, arranging event days, providing training and support to volunteers, and helping with the administration of the project.

I feel passionate about this project, because it empowers the local community whilst protecting and revitalising the natural environment. With the average person spending 93% of their time indoors, people rarely connect with nature. For many, this creates a feeling of separation from the natural world. Yet, our connection with nature is vital, because it protects our health and promotes wellbeing.

In the coming years, I hope that we can work together to bridge the gap between people and the environment. By linking volunteers and communities with the environment, projects like ours are already starting to achieve this vision.