Thousands of oak saplings saved after being grown on Shropshire border

Hundreds of thousands of Oak saplings grown at a forest nursery on the Shropshire border have been saved thanks to a crowd funding scheme.

The Maelor Forest Nurseries at Bronington between Ellesmere and Whitchurch faced the prospect of having to destroy the plants it had nurtured for two years.

Now the Save the Oaks project is looking for organisations and individuals that can give a home to the trees.

Save the Oaks stepped in after news reports that 750,000 oak saplings were facing destruction after a Government planned national tree planting scheme never got off the ground.

Extinction Rebellion Rewilding’s Save the Oaks campaign was able to put an initial order for 30,000 of the oak saplings having crowdfunded more than £10K so far.

Mike Harvey, Managing Director of Maelor Forest Nurseries Ltd, said: “We are delighted that these oak saplings have found good homes. We were devastated at the prospect of having to destroy plants, which we had spent two years growing and nurturing, only to find they ultimately were being left without a future for reasons beyond our control. To leave the crop in the field and remove it unsold in its third year would have been prohibitively costly, but thanks to the interest in the trees we have been able to find a home for most of them, as well as our following crop. A fresh crop of acorns will be sown once the trees are removed.”

“We had several charities and organisations approach us for these trees with Extinction Rebellion Rewilding securing the largest of these orders. Tree planting is an absolute necessity if we are to mitigate our impact on the environment.”

Having secured a substantially reduced cost of 22p per oak sapling from Maelor Forest Nurseries, Save the Oaks says it is extending its community focused campaign so that it can gift more saplings for free to people who have access to suitable English oak tree planting locations across the UK.

A local volunteer who is helping to distribute the saplings is Robert McBride, known as the Tree Hunter, who lives in Ellesmere.

“Standing in a field of hundreds of thousands of oak saplings is a feeling I will never forget. These are the ancient trees of the future, a new generation of oaks which if planted and cared for in the right place can bring joy and climate benefit for hundreds of years.”

“The support we’ve seen is a testament to how a community can come together in difficult times,” said Natasha Somers, a volunteer from Save the Oaks.

“Oaks are symbolic of strength and resilience, qualities which we will need going into our collective future. With that in mind, we are inviting more people to get involved in this next phase of the campaign – we want to give anyone that wants to plant and care for some oaks the chance to take part.”

Already hundreds of trees have been send across the UK for community planting schemes with more than 160 requests so far accepted from people offering homes for the saplings.

Those wanting to get involved can donate and/or apply to become a tree guardian at savetheoaks.org.

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