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STWN are Winners!

STWN has won the Greenest Community Award in Suffolk County Council’s Greenest County Awards 2021.

In making the award the judges said: This wide-ranging project had the advantage of having a positive effect across many communities throughout the whole of Suffolk. It has a lot of support, with many more parishes across Suffolk now having a Tree Warden. Its range of influence and high ambitions to change the landscape of the county by involving local communities gave it the edge in an extremely high quality field of nominations.”

Leader of SCC, Matthew Hicks presenting the award to STWN Tree Wardens Helen Bynum and Fe Morris

In our winning bid for the recent SCC Greenest Community Award we said: “We are putting trees into the land and on the map. STWN has distributed (in partnership with WT and SCC) 20,000 trees and hedgerow shrubs in 2019-2020. This year we will act as the distribution hub for 4,500 trees and 20,000 hedgerow shrubs. The hedgerow shrubs total 4km of new hedgerows, recognised as a vital biodiversity resource. STWN is also the access point for landowners to place orders for TW Landowner packs totalling 10,500 trees.

The Greenest County Award

In 2007 Suffolk County Council threw down a gauntlet. The goal was to facilitate Suffolk’s transformation into the Greenest County. Its aim was inclusive: “responding to climate change” would only happen by involving: “the whole county in enhancing our natural and historic environment”. This now includes the new #NetZeroSuffolk 2030 carbon target. Follow them on Twitter here: @GreenSuffolk.

As part of this evolving initiative Green Suffolk runs the Greenest County award scheme, sponsored by local businesses to promote and celebrate the dedicated work of individuals, businesses, organisations, communities and groups.

This year, in a welcome return to an in-person event, the award ceremony was compèred by BBC Radio Suffolk’s Mark Murphy . It was held in the auditorium at The Hold, part of Ipswich’s education and archive campus on the regenerating waterfront. The ceremony took place during COP26 and Lord Deben, Chairman of the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change, former Suffolk MP, and part inspiration for the Greenest County initiative delivered an address by video link.

Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences at UEA, Tim O’Riordan gave an excellent, accessible keynote speech. With a determined passion he called on all of us to create a better future for the young school students eagerly awaiting news of their award entries. Two key points hit home. These children will live through the increasing climate change we are creating now. At key points in their lives – leaving school, leaving university, having their own children and grandchildren – he told us what the global thermometer will read and what those temperatures will mean if nothing is done. It was an immediate and effective engagement with a problem we cannot afford to tire of.

Tim also spoke about setting and achieving goals not just for the long haul but for the coming five years and for the next five and so on. We need to be actively engaged in the process now and not expect someone else to do it, somewhere down the line.

The Suffolk Tree Warden Network (@SuffolkTrees) has been recognised for already being actively engaged. In our winning bid we said “The Suffolk Tree Warden Network is composed of volunteer ‘Tree Champions’ who work with local councils and other community groups to plant, promote and care for trees across the county. As well as planting and protecting trees, they empower others to do the same, and act as a point of focus. Each planting season, in partnership with Suffolk County Council (SCC) and The Woodland Trust (WT), they distribute trees and hedge plants, get them safely in the ground and ensure they are looked after in the future.”

This planting season 90 tree packs and 4km of hedgerows will go into the ground as Tree Wardens all over Suffolk take delivery of their new stock. In addition, the larger Landowner Packs will be distributed by STWN and these trees will provide further green cover and help sequester more carbon. To enhance post-planting success we are now able to supply mulch mats, thanks to the Sicon Foundation.

Winners are awarded a handmade glass trophy bearing the Green Suffolk logo. Aptly it is a tree in the shape of a hand. Green leaves float above the trunk to remind us that the job is not done. There is still much to aspire to and reach for, but along with the other winners (see full details of the 2021 categories, sponsors and winners here) we have picked up that SCC gauntlet, fitted it onto our tree planting hands and starting digging. Well done Tree Wardens, you made this happen by what you have done so far and will continue to do. If you are inspired by our win, plant a tree or a hedge, and join us as a tree warden for your parish.

Helen Bynum

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