East Hampshire District Council has launched
a programme to plant a tree for every resident in East Hampshire at the home
of the district’s famous ecologist, Gilbert White.
The council plans to plant 120,000 trees
across the district as part of its commitment to battling climate change and
reducing its own impact on the environment.
The first tree was planted in the grounds of
Gilbert White’s House and Museum, in Selborne, which will be celebrating the
anniversary of the naturalist's 300th birthday next year.
Gilbert White is considered to be the father of ecology for his detailed
investigation of the relationship between plants, animals and humans. He was
author of the famous book, The Natural History of Selborne.
The tree, planted by EHDC Leader Cllr
Richard Millard, is in the shadow of a great oak planted by Gilbert White
himself as a 10-year-old boy in 1730.
It is hoped that communities, schools and
businesses will take up the challenge to find places to plant the new trees
and play their part in this ambitious environmental project.
As the trees mature they will play a
significant role in reducing carbon in the atmosphere as well as boosting
EHDC Leader, Cllr Richard Millard, said: “We
think Gilbert would have approved of our tree planting programme – and we are
dedicating the project to him as a very distinguished former East Hampshire
resident, a great naturalist and the founder of ecology.
“In July, East Hampshire District Council
declared a climate emergency and announced how we intended to reduce our
impact on the environment.
“This project will not only help our
ambitions to go carbon neutral, it will also inspire our local communities
and fire the imaginations of the young people who will live in the word we
Gilbert White was a careful observer and
recorder of trees and understood their importance to a flourishing wildlife.
He said: “The parish I live in is a very abrupt, uneven country, full
of hills and woods, and therefore full of birds.
“Trees are great promoters of lakes and
rivers; trees perspire profusely, condense largely, and check evaporation so
much, that woods are always moist; no wonder, therefore, that they contribute
to pools and streams.”
The planting is the first of many events
that will celebrate Gilbert’s 300th birthday and was done in
front of an audience of more than 50 GW300 partners during a meeting at
Gilbert White’s House & The Oates Collections. GW300 is a partnership
dedicated to raising the profile of Gilbert White.
“Gilbert White fully understood the value of
trees to the environment and he would be right behind East Hampshire District
Council’s plan to plant one for every resident in the district,” said Museum
Trustee Philip Geddes.
“We had a very successful launch of GW300 in
July in London and we are very happy to welcome several new members of the
partnership able to be with us here today,” said Mr Geddes.
“In particular we are delighted to welcome
Winchester Cathedral,“ said Philip, “which has agreed to put a display on the
life and work of Gilbert in the Cathedral. It will be seen by many thousands
and will help get across to today’s audiences the importance of Gilbert’s
message that the individual can make a difference. If people listen to what
he said, we can show that our generation is as capable of living in harmony
with nature as Gilbert was.“
GW300 is designed to support all its
partners in the delivery of their birthday plans for Gilbert. A wide range of
events are planned during the coming year – from new permanent exhibitions to
a wide range of talks and activity events around the country.
“It will be a great chance for people to get
involved in the environment,” said Mr Geddes.
A new section of the Gilbert White website
will be available soon (https://gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk/ -
click on GW300 tab). Users will be able to see details of the whole range of
GW events, and choose an event to take part in by date, location or type of
event. Users will be able to book tickets online.