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Hedgerow Detectives: New resource for primary schools

Hedgerow Detective KS1 and KS2 lesson plans

CPRE, the countryside charity, has developed some fantastic resources to help primary schools students learn about hedgerows.

CPRE has created ‘Hedgerow detective’ lesson plans for Key Stage 1 and 2 children. During these lessons, they will learn about why hedgerows are important and how they help the environment. Pupils will also learn about the animals and plants that live in hedgerows. CPRE has developed teachers’ notes for both key stages, as well as fun worksheets for the children to complete. CPRE has developed these lesson plans in collaboration with Countryside Classroom.

How do these lesson plans relate to the curriculum?

The hedgerow resources link to a wide range of subjects. For example:

  • Science: looking at naming different plants, investigating their structure and needs to grow as well as touching on habitats and food chains/ webs.
  • History: by investigating how the local landscape has changed over time.
  • Geography: these lesson plans will enable your students to compare rural and urban landscapes – this activity is a fun way of introducing children to the rural aspect.
  • Design technology: the lesson plans will also help your students to design and build fencing or animal housing.
  • Maths: in the Key Stage 2 lesson plans, your students will gather and handle data and make calculations.
  • Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE): is covered in many ways by the Hedgerow Detective lesson plans, by encouraging children to care for animals and the environment

Visit the CPRE website for further information.

The Tree Council announces funding for community hedge planting

The Tree Council is now accepting applications for the Branching Out Community Fund, for projects taking place during the winter 2022 / 2023 hedge planting season!

The grant provides funding of between £200 and £2000 to support hedgerow, tree and orchard planting projects run by schools, community groups, parish councils and Tree Warden Networks.

Projects must have strong community involvement and should enhance local wildlife and biodiversity.

Applications will be open until Sunday 4 December.

Head to The Tree Council website to find out more and apply: Our grants – The Tree Council

 

CPRE: It’s time for government to stand up for hedgerows

In July 2021 CPRE, the countryside charity, launched a national campaign championing the humble hedgerow. Stuart Neaverson, Campaigns Officer at CPRE, tells us more.

Hedgerows are the vital stitching in the patchwork of our countryside. Not only are they beautiful, with shifting seasonal colours, but they can also be vital allies in tackling climate change. Our hedgerows capture carbon in their roots and branches, help reduce the risk of flooding and provide shelter to well over a hundred of the UK’s most vulnerable species.

But our hedgerows are at risk. Since the Second World War, we’ve lost around half of our hedgerows. At CPRE, we want to see them make a comeback. The government loves talking about tree planting and peatland restoration – which are obviously critical too – but it seems to have forgotten one of nature’s superheroes – the humble hedgerow. We’re campaigning for government to commit to a target for planting and restoring thousands of miles of hedgerows across the country.

Specifically, we want to see them back the Climate Change Committee’s call for a 40% increase in the extent of hedgerows by 2050 to help tackle the climate emergency. In short, #40by50.

It’s a policy that would pay for itself. Our recent research report, Hedge fund: investing in hedgerows for climate, nature and the economy, found that for every £1 invested in hedgerows, nearly £4 can be returned to the wider economy, such as through jobs to plant and restore hedgerows and environmental benefits including boosting biodiversity and offsetting carbon emissions.

But to restore our hedgerow network, and revitalise our countryside and hedgerows in towns and cities too, we need your support. We need to make sure our government gets the message and backs a hedgerow #40by50 target in policy and legislation, just like it has for trees, and commit to planting and restoring thousands of miles of hedges all across the country. You can make your voice heard by signing our petition here and helping to make sure we restore the unsung hero of our countryside.

‘Healthy Hedgerows’ app launched to help farmers, hedgerows and wildlife

People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) have launched a brand-new ‘Healthy Hedgerows’ app, aimed at farmers and land managers that want to make – or adjust – their hedgerow management plans to grow the healthiest of hedges. 

Healthy Hedgerows offers free rapid assessments to help make understanding the hedgerow lifecycle easy. With just six easy questions, it’s quick and simple to use, giving instant management advice for each hedge surveyed.

Designed for farmers, landowners and land managers, this free app enables users to find out where hedges are within their natural lifecycle and offers instant feedback on how they can be best managed to ensure their continued health.

Megan Gimber, Key Habitats Project Officer at PTES, explains: “The quality and structure of hedgerows will deteriorate if they’re managed in the same way for long periods of time, and over time they will eventually be lost. Managing hedgerows according to their lifecycle is the only way to keep them healthy in the long term,  which may include more sensitive trimming, periods of non-intervention and, in time, rejuvenation.”

“Whatever condition a hedge is in, it can be brought back to good health. Our new app pinpoints where it is in its lifecycle and the best management options to adopt to get the most benefit for the farm and its precious wildlife.”

To download the app for free, visit the Apple Store or Google Play and search for Healthy Hedgerows. For those who can’t download the app, more information is available online: hedgerowsurvey.ptes.org/healthy-hedgerows-survey.

The app is part of the ‘Close the Gap’ project, focused on achieving bigger, healthier, better-connected hedgerows. It is funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund and is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

The first ever National Hedgerow Week!

The inaugural National Hedgerow Week (29 May to 6 June 2021), led by The Tree Council and partners, sparked a UK-wide conversation about (and with!) these quietly remarkable features of our urban and rural landscapes. 

People, communities and businesses got involved in National Hedgerow Week in lots of different ways:  

  • They signed up to receive the Talk to the Hedge guide to learn how to chat with their local hedgerow.
  • Over 1,000 people and counting enjoyed a series of free HedgeTalks, which invited a diverse cast of hedge enthusiasts to discuss the art, science and cultural value of hedgerows. You can watch the HedgeTalk recordings in your own time on the National Hedgerow Week website
  • Sharing photos of themselves out enjoying their local hedges using #TalkToTheHedge, helping to spark a hedgy conversation online that reached a potential 3 million timelines.  

Thank you to BBC Gardener’s Question Time, the Times, My Green Pod and many more for helping to spread the word about the campaign, and special thanks to the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund for supporting this initiative.  

Next year’s National Hedgerow Week will take place September 2022. 

For more information visit the National Hedgerow Week website. 

Close the Gap hedgerows project

Last year, The Tree Council and partners (including Hedgelink) were delighted to receive a grant of £1.8 million from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund for an exciting new Close the Gap hedgerow project.

The 18-month project, now in full swing, is helping to shape the future of England’s hedgerows in four ways: through hedgerow planting and ‘gapping up’; by gathering and sharing knowledge to improve hedgerow management; by ensuring good local supplies of future hedgerow trees through local seed nurseries; and by engaging the public with England’s important hedgerow heritage.

Activities include:

  • Establishing and restoring 53km of urban and rural hedgerows with partners, community groups and farmers.
  • Encouraging surveying of hedgerows, via a new ‘Healthy Hedges’ app.
  • Updating the Hedgelink website to include an online knowledge hub and shared training materials on hedgerow surveying, planting and management.
  • Supporting 10 new horticulture trainees.
  • New community seed nurseries nationwide to create biosecure future tree supplies.
  • Raising awareness of the value of hedgerows through a new National Hedgerow Week.

Sara Lom, CEO at The Tree Council, said: “The Committee on Climate Change called for 200,000km of new hedgerows to help achieve net zero carbon – but hedges are often forgotten in conversations about a greener future. Close the Gap will boost the immense potential of our hedgerows – for biodiversity, carbon-capture, conserving our natural cultural heritage and more. We want everyone to understand and value their local hedgerows and for more young people to consider the exciting land-based careers they offer. We’re grateful to National Lottery Heritage Fund for funding this partnership of leading organisations to improve the future of UK hedgerows.”

The project partners include The Tree Council, Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Moor Trees, the University of Reading, The Royal Parks Guild and Hedgelink. The project is funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

For more information visit The Tree Council website or email hedgerows@treecouncil.org.uk.