BCTV wins £650,000 lottery cash for Kent ancient trees project

BTCV has won a £650,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an education and activity programme on Kent's heritage trees.

The project will also survey and record 10,000 heritage trees across the county.

BCTV aims to celebrate and promote the value of heritage trees, defined by the Forestry Commission as ‘old trees, wide trees, rare trees and trees with historical and cultural significance.’

The funding will provide two project officers to oversee all the project’s activities, a programme of courses for 330 volunteers who would like to become ‘Heritage Tree Surveyors,’ 24 habitat management courses and 64 biodiversity courses, all of which will be open to volunteers and members of the public.

The project is aimed specifically at schools, families and people under 35 but is open to all. There will also be 480 ‘Woodland Wonder’ community educational sessions to provide an introduction to practical conservation and the natural world with activities like welly walks, natural art and music, tree decorating and mini-beast hunts.

BCTV operations director Kate MacKenzie said:

"South East England has the highest proportion of heritage trees in Western Europe, offering biodiversity, providing habitats and food for a range of creatures and representing hundreds of years of Kentish culture, yet we know little about them.

"Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, for the first time we will be able to properly identify, protect and manage these hugely important natural assets. The project will also offer great opportunities for the region’s residents to get involved in the fantastic countryside and wildlife right on our doorsteps."

HLF SE England operatiosn head Stuart McLeod said:

"Native British species such as ash, oak, yew, black poplar and chestnut make up many of our ancient trees, and there is a significant range of indigenous tree specimens in the South East and Kent in particular.

"As a supporter of the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity 2010, HLF is right behind organisations helping communities to safeguard the rich variety of plant and wildlife on their doorstep – something that this HLF funded project can now make a valuable contribution to."

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