A network of volunteer tree wardens who play a huge role in protecting and maintaining the trees and wildlife across Leicestershire is celebrating its 40th anniversary – and is now calling on others to consider branching out and joining its ranks.
Tree wardens are volunteers for the Tree Council and are appointed by their parish council or other organisation to be a contact and support for all things tree-related in their local area. They help protect trees by reporting pests, disease and vandalism and help look out for opportunities to plant more trees in the local community.
They also campaign for grants to help fund more local tree planting and campaign to raise awareness about the key ecological role of trees and woodland.
Leicestershire currently has almost 130 tree wardens. They are co-ordinated by Leicestershire County Council’s Tree Wardens Network, which brings the wardens together and shares vital information – and which is also appealing for more volunteers.
The 40th anniversary of wardens championing trees across the county was marked during the Midlands Tree Warden Forum, organised by the Tree Council at Beaumanor Hall – complete with a celebratory birthday cake.
Tree wardens play a vital role in making the county greener and allow parish councils to have a greater say in where and how tree planting and ecological renewal is done in their parishes.
The tree wardens don’t just have an interest in trees – they do a lot for the wider environment in terms of conservation, and I would encourage anyone who is interested in the environment to enquire about becoming a tree warden and helping to make your local parish a greener and healthier place to live.
Person:Lucie Hoelmer, senior environmental partnerships officer
Mike McIntyre is the tree warden for Lockington and Hemington – a role he has been carrying out for around 18 months.
He said: “I became a tree warden because I saw how important trees are in and around the parish. I am part of the team developing our Neighbourhood Plan and I wanted to ensure that environmental concerns, including trees, were fully addressed.
“I enjoy being a local champion for trees – even as a non-expert I can be a focal point to put people in touch with resources. Most people value the trees in our community, and they welcome the fact that someone is there to represent the interests of the trees.
“There is always a need for more tree wardens around the county and I would encourage anyone with the slightest interest in trees to give it a try. It needn’t take up much time and it will be rewarding. There is a lot of support and training available from Leicestershire County Council and other organisations such as the Woodland Trust and the Tree Council, as well as a big network of like-minded people.
“Being a tree warden can involve as much or little commitment as you want to put into it, and there are no qualifications needed, just an interest in trees.”
Last year, Mike organised an ambitious project which saw five oak saplings planted in Hemington Park by children from the local primary school to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Mike was inspired by a planting which took place on the other side of the village in 1897, when five oaks were planted in Ladies Walk to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
A video of Mike talking about his role as a volunteer tree warden can be seen on the county council’s tree wardens web page, where there is also more information about tree wardens and how to volunteer.
Leicestershire County Council is aiming to plant 700,000 trees - one for every person in the county.
Anyone who would like to find out more about becoming a tree warden or to apply can also contact their local parish council or email firstname.lastname@example.org