News

We’re Hiring!

Avon Needs Trees is looking to hire a freelance project co-ordinator to work 21 hours per week to help us continue our conservation work across the Bristol-Avon catchment area.

We are entering a crucial, but very exciting time for our charity. With the purchase of Hazeland finally confirmed, volunteers and special interest groups eager to visit the site, and fundraising for our second land purchase at Seend just getting started, things are moving at a mile a minute. We need someone who is well organised, dependable, and enthusiastic about our goals to help us continue the work we’ve started.

For full details of the role and how to apply, go to avonneedstrees.org.uk/jobs and download the role brief at the bottom of the page.

Applications close at 5.30 on Friday October 2nd.

Good luck!

Seend – Avon Needs Trees’ Second Land Purhcase

We have reached an agreement for our second land purhcase – 19 acres of land at Seend near Melksham!

This new piece of land is just seven miles from Hazeland, the first piece of land we bought, and while it is slightly further from Bristol is still inside the high Bristol-Avon catchment area.

It is a site where we believe we can really add value. There are extensive mature hedgerows, standing dead wood and two natural pond areas. The land rolls down to the Kennet and Avon canal. The grass is not species rich and therefore very suitable for tree planting.

The land is already crossed by public footpaths and we look forward to making this a real community asset. We plan to plant a large woodland of native broadleafs and a substantial community orchard. We will leave meadow alongside the canal and create a flower-rich, accessible viewing point.

Full ecological studies have been commissioned but we already have anecdotal evidence of a decline in bird species in the area. The good news is that neighbours to this land have already begun tree planting and so our plans will build on their work, creating a substantial nature reserve.

We already have some funds we can put towards the purchase of Seend, and while we know most of the £175,000 needed will come from businesses, trusts and large donors, we still need your help. Today we launched a crowdfunder campaign – please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/AvonNeedsTrees to read more about this project, donate if you can, and please share it with your friends, family, neighbours and other networks!

Every donation, big or small, not only gets us a little bit closer to buying this land, but also demonstrates support for our project, which is essential for accessing larger pots of money. Thank you!

We will be hosting a free open day at Seend for any Avon Needs Trees supporters to visit the land. If you’d like to know more, or have questions, come and take a look on Sunday 4th of October. Because of COVID we will need to stagger arrivals at the site, so please email contact@avonneedstrees.org.uk if you would like to attend.

Volunteering at Hazeland

Last weekend we had our first official volunteer work days at Hazeland. Around twenty volunteers joined us over the two days. The weather was gorgeous, loads of work got done and no one got hurt or lost in the woods! Huge thanks to all of our brilliant volunteers who made the whole weekend so special!

We’ll be back at Hazeland for our next volunteer work day on Friday 11th of September. We’ve already had lots of people express interest in volunteering then, but if you’d like to join them head over to the volunteering page of our website for more information and to get registered. We’ll be emailing all registered volunteers next week with details of the work we’ll be doing on the 11th.

In our next newsletter we’ll be letting you know about other events and volunteering days, including tree planting days in November.

£22,500 from Bristol Energy

Fantastic news! We are thrilled to announce that Bristol Energy has chosen to support Avon Needs Trees through their Additionality Fund, raised by their customers across 2019/20. All renewable energy companies with green energy tariffs on supply are obliged to set aside funding each time a customer switches, to support green projects. As a result, we’ve received a whopping £22,500 to go towards our costs at Hazeland!

This means all our tree planting costs are covered – including deer-proofing – and we will have more funds to survey the species that we haven’t yet considered, such as dormice, insects, invertebrates and owls. We’ll also be able to organise more events so that you can help with the monitoring. Many thanks to everyone at Bristol Energy who made this possible.

Chris Goodall: What We Need To Do Now – Online Talk

Earlier this year we planned to bring author and economist Chris Goodall to Bristol and Chippenham to speak about his new book What We Need To Do Now. Unfortunately those events had to be postponed because of COVID, but we’re pleased to announce that Chris will be delivering his talk via Zoom on Wednesday 14th of October.

Chris is one of the UK’s leading observers of the energy transition and has particular insights into new technologies such as ‘green hydrogen’, and the developments that are tackling our hard-to-decarbonise, high emission industries such as clothing, aviation, steel and cement.

There will be plenty of time for questions and answers and you are welcome to submit questions in advance via contact@avonneedstrees.org.uk.

Tickets bought for the original Bristol or Chippenham events are still valid. If you bought tickets for people who do not live together and cannot share a computer please email us via contact@avonneedstrees.org.uk and we will make sure the Zoom link is sent to everyone who has a ticket.

Please share this exciting event. Tickets can be booked via Eventbrite or Facebook, with all proceeds coming to Avon Needs Trees.

We hope to see you there!

We’ve Bought Hazeland!

It has been many weeks since we updated you on our purchase of Hazeland, the 34 acres near Calne where we will be replanting and rewilding to create new, permanent forest. The conveyancing was badly delayed by COVID, and by some difficult negotiations with the vendor. However, we are finally able to announce the fantastic news that we have just completed.

With your help, we now own Hazeland!

We are now in a position to begin planning events that you can participate in. These will include butterfly, bat, badger and bird monitoring events; volunteer work days; forest schools; history days and much more.

Our first volunteer work days will be the weekend of the 29th and 30th of August, and we have another one on Friday 11th of September. We will be clearing some rubbish off the land (including old plastic tree guards and other debris), taking down some redundant fencing, and setting up the tool shed and compost loos.

Tree planting will begin in November and we will need a great deal of help to get several thousand trees into the ground.

To register for any kind of volunteering, or to get more information, please get in touch via contact@avonneedstrees.org.uk, and please complete the two parts of our volunteer registration form;

Part 1 – https://forms.gle/5He3xnXmTmX7bhPX9
Part 2 – https://forms.gle/Gm9GKKVLJcCATVrU9

Part 1 is basic information about you that we need for health and safety reasons. Part 2 is a handful of equalities questions which we use to make sure we’re reaching a diverse variety of communities across our region, and to feedback to our funders. Part 2 is completely anonymous and your answers cannot be linked back to you. Please complete both parts. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at Hazeland!

A Wood Would! – Poem by Fritjof Koerber

In celebration of our purchase, volunteer Fritjof Koerber has written this fantastic, fun poem that really sums up why Avon Needs Trees’s work is so important. Thanks also to volunteer Hannah Sackett who has added wonderful illustrations.

We’re Buying Hazeland!

In November 2019 we submitted a bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund asking for a very significant sum of money to help us buy Hazeland. We were told that this particular fund was extremely competitive and we all worked very hard not to get our hopes up.

But then in early March we got the call saying we had been successful! The amount is transformative and will allow us to buy the land, manage it and employ a part-time administrator for three years to help organise lots of volunteering and biodiversity events on site.

This amount gives us a great deal of security, and a good base to expand with other land purchases so that we can really start to make an impact on the catchment.

Of course everything these days is being affected by coronavirus. Both teams of solicitors are able to work right now; however, the county records office is closed. It may be that completion of the purchase is delayed, but the vendor has kindly given us permission to conduct the spring and early summer biodiversity surveys anyway so that we can measure our impact going forward.

The vendor will also allow us onto the land in June to remove the Himalayan Balsam, an invasive species that can spread far and wide. We don’t want to miss the opportunity this Spring to bring it under control, but this of course is also virus dependent.

Huge thanks to everyone who has supported us! The hundreds of big and small donations you’ve made, the gift cards you’ve bought and your participation in our events means we have been able to demonstrate a high level of public support, which has made it possible to attract bigger pots of money. Particular thanks to Natracare, Richard Watkins and the private trust that have backed us, without whom this definitely wouldn’t have been possible, but also to all of you for your faith in us.

Postponed – Chris Goodall in Bristol and Chippenham

Sadly, due to the coronavirus situation we have had to postpone our events with Chris Goodall, economist and author of What We Need To Do Now.

Chris will now be speaking in Chippenham on October 12th and in Bristol on October 14th. Tickets for both events are available on Facebook or Eventbrite.

If you have already bought tickets for either event those tickets remain valid. If you are now unable to attend please try to pass your tickets on to someone else if possible.

If you do need a refund please note that for us the Eventbrite booking fee is non-refundable. This means we may lose a significant amount. We would really appreciate it if you would accept a partial refund, excluding the Eventbrite fee. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss this.