A tree planting initiative dreamed up by a Cardiff schoolgirl nine years ago has led to the creation of 15 new woodlands in Wales with the planting for the 300, 000th tree.
In 2008 the Welsh Government made a pledge to plant a native Welsh broadleaf tree for every child born or adopted in Wales.
The scheme is called Plant! – the Welsh word for children.
Every month, Natural Resources Wales, who run the programme on behalf of Welsh Government and the Woodland Trust, receives the numbers of babies born and adopted in Wales, and arranges for a mixture of native broadleaf trees to be planted, including oak, ash, birch, cherry, rowan and willow.
Every baby is given the location of the woodland which contains their tree.
They also receive a certificate soon after their birth or adoption, stating that a tree has been planted for them.
Kate Thomson, Plant! Co-ordinator for Natural Resources Wales said:
“Trees are an important part of our environment. They soak up floodwater, absorb carbon and other pollutants, provide a home for wildlife, help us enjoy the outdoors as well as providing a source of sustainable energy and house-building material.
“Plant! is helping to create new community woodlands for the children of Wales to visit with their families and watch them grow as they do.
“We hope it will encourage young people to think about their environment and the role they have in managing it sustainably.
Rebecca Good, the Woodland Trust’s site manager for Coed y Foel, one of the Plant! sites, says:
“What better way is there to mark that most important of events, the birth or adoption of a child, than to plant a native tree, one that will grow with the child and help to create a beautiful and sustainable environment for the future, enriching everyone’s lives.
If you have a child, born or adopted in Wales from 2008 onwards, why not visit their Plant! site and connect them with their legacy?”
From 1st April 2014, the Welsh Government extended the programme to plant an additional tree in Uganda for every child in partnership with the environmental charity Size of Wales.
Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said:
“Trees are invaluable to society as they contribute to our health and well-being and they play a key role in regulating our climate.
“Plant! has done so much to raise awareness of the importance of the sustainable management of our natural resources, for the benefit of the present and future generations. It engages young people and improves their awareness of the environment, climate change and global citizenship.
“It is great to see Plant! reach this incredible milestone.”
For more information on Plant! please visit the website at www.wales.gov.uk/plantatree