Tree-mendous challenge

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Supported by Fund4Trees, Shropshire-based Tree Hunter Rob McBride, has set out to complete a ‘Tree-mendous challenge’: visiting all of the entrants in the European Tree of the Year (ETY) 2015 contest. This will take in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, France (Corsica), Spain and Belgium.

Mick Boddy (Trustee for Fund4Trees) said

“Rob is a great ambassador for trees and their importance to our heritage and culture. We are very pleased to be able support this pan-European venture with a Fund4Trees travel and accommodation bursary.”

Since the ETY started 5 years ago over 1.1 million votes have been cast for the trees taking part in the contest. It has grown year on year and now has fourteen participating countries. The winning tree last year, an Elm tree from Bulgaria, polled over 77,000 votes. So, this year’s winning tree has some target to beat!

From the Environmental Partnership Association who organise the contest:

The purpose of the European Tree of the Year is to highlight the significance of old trees in the natural and cultural heritage that deserves our care and protection. Unlike other contests, the European Tree of the Year doesn’t focus on beauty, size or age but rather on the tree’s story and its connection to people. We are looking for trees that have become a part of the wider community.

One of the entrants is the Estonian Oak tree in the middle of the local football team’s pitch.  The teams play around the tree using it as a passing wall to bounce passes off beating players with the old one two… or perhaps more of a one, two…TREE!
See it here

In the UK there are entrants from Wales, Scotland & England:

Wales has the amazing Lonely Tree of Llanfyllin. This well loved Scot’s Pine was sadly was blown over in February 2014. But, the tree is still partly alive and ‘phoenixing’: rising again from its now prostrate position.

Scotland. Rob has been given special access to visit the Scottish entrant, the Lady’s tree, a Scot’s Pine growing in a nature reserve at Loch of the Lowes near Dunkeld, Perthshire. The tree has a nest near the top which has been the home of Lady the Osprey for the last 24 years…there is also a much visited webcam from which you can see Lady and her many hatched chicks.

England, and of course, Rob will visit the world famous Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, ’Robin Hood’s Oak tree’. After hosting the awards ceremony in the EU Parliament Brussels last year, Rob promised there would be an English tree in the contest for 2015, as there had not been an English entrant previously. The Woodland Trust has now, very successfully, taken on the task of bringing the English entrant to the contest.

He will cross the Irish Sea to visit the Irish tree entrant with its emotional story, in Ballinderry, Co. Tipperary.


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