Last Wednesday, Chris Maynard, Managing Director of Castle Minibus, visited the Field Studies Council at Preston Montford in Shropshire to get his hands dirty, planting 500 trees and shrubs.
The Field Studies Council was founded in the 1940s to realise a vision ‘to provide opportunities for school children to study living plants and animals in their natural environment’. They have 25 centres throughout the UK and offer courses and experiences for schools (from primary to further education), universities, families, teachers, and group leaders.
In 2019 Castle Minibus pledged to support the planting of trees with a £3000 donation each year for three years. In early 2020, 500 trees and shrubs were planted at the FSC’s Preston Montford site. Unfortunately, the pandemic meant that the 2021 planned planting was postponed until this February when students from Derwen College, completing their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, met with Chris to get planting.
Matt Hawes, National Estates Manager at the FSC, demonstrated how to plant the trees, and protect them with a cane and spiral casing to protect them from rabbits. He plans to break up the existing tree line with a graded front of different height trees that will provide a horizontal as well as vertical habitat for wildlife.
Jennie Comerford, National Grants Officer Field Studies Council pictured above planting tree with Chris commented “ FSC is unique and there is more to us than initially meets the eye! We are a great combination of an environmental charity and an education charity. We really appreciate Castle’s ongoing support for our work. Despite the rain, it was so nice to get outside and do something tangible for natures benefit – and I felt better for it too!
“The young people from Derwen College were stars – young George told Matt “I have done loads; I am proud of myself” and described his morning as’ fantastic’! Castle’s support is not only helping nature and supporting carbon reduction it is also helping people too.”
Chris Maynard comments “It is gratifying to not only come and help plant the next 500 trees and shrubs but to also be able to see how 2020’s planting has grown. Castle Minibus didn’t want to just ‘plant and walk away’ but support the sustained management and care of the trees as they grow. We like the fact that with the FSC it is not just about planting trees, it’s about planting the right type of trees and having a sustainable plan to manage them.
“The FSC has lots of Nature Recovery projects in the pipeline that we are keen to discuss support, to enable them to progress their biodiversity action plan. One of these plans is to increase the ground cover for the inter-connecting wetlands at the Preston Montford site to help protect the Great Crested Newt and enable it to move from pond to pond.
“I went to school in nearby Malvern, and as a child remember going to ponds and places to look for newts, not realising how rare the Great Crested newt is. So, it would be wonderful to think that in the future Castle Minibus would be helping FSC provide a safer habitat for these creatures.”
“The final 500 trees will be planted in the autumn, and I am looking forward to seeing how the landscape will have changed in a few years as the trees grow. The young people from Derwen College certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves despite the rain and it’s good to know we are supporting people as well as making a small contribution to the environment.”
To learn more about the Field Studies Council and what they do please call 01743 852100 or visit https://www.field-studies-council.org/