Henley resident Brian Green was joined by his work colleagues from Ribbon Communications on Friday to plant 500 trees around 40 Acre Wood (behind Tilebarn Close) and around the Henley College rugby pitches.
Brian, a regular parkrunner, got in touch with Patrick Fleming of Greener Henley to propose a community tree planting project after he noticed that more and more trees were being blown down on the course around 40 Acre Wood and were not being replaced. A proposal was put forward to Henley Town Council (HTC), with advice from Sally Rankin of Henley Wildlife Group to plant 500 British species trees (Oak, Rowan, Hornbeam, Whitebeam, Birch, Wild Cherry and Hazel).
Ribbon Communications have had a charity volunteer day, every year, for the last 10 years on the last Friday in October. Brian was joined by 35 colleagues from their offices in Maidenhead, Basingstoke and Swindon who separated into teams of six.
Brian Green said, “Normally every year, 4,000 employees are doing something charitable around the world but this project is the only one in Europe because of Covid this year. In the past we’ve done decoration or gardening. As part of Ribbon’s sustainability programme, we have looked at reducing our waste, saving on our electricity bills but now we’re looking to do something to reverse the climate change so that’s the reason we’re planting trees. This year is really a practice, we hope to plant 4 times as many trees, if we find the right plot next year. It’s a great place to learn to plant trees ourselves and not to complain about the problem but to find a solution. It’s been a good day for different people to get together from different teams, put faces to names, especially in these times.”
Patrick from Greener Henley said, “Brian and I walked round to see what we could do on the day and we were delighted that the proposal was accepted particularly the planting of 200 trees on the Henley College land as this is the beginning of a community and college partnership. Ribbon paid for not only the trees but the canes, carboard guards and some tools. It’s been really brilliant to plant 500 trees in a day. It’s a real bonus having these lads here to help out today, for what would normally take weeks. They’ve also had the time to help to litter pick and clear and prepare an area on Chalk Bank (up from Valley Road) so that we can do some more planting in December. It’s great too that this time we’ve used cardboard guards instead of plastic spiral ones as these will just rot down in 2 years and be part of the compost.”
Lex Volkes, HTC Conservation Park Warden said, “I think it’s wonderful to see the trees being planted and the group has worked really hard and done a great job. This place has been in need for replacement of some trees that are growing old, unfortunately sustaining some damage due to wildlife. I believe the places have been chosen well and the trees are in the places that they should be.