Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best urban tree initiative

Winner - Nene Park Trust

Image: Nene Park Trust
Image: Nene Park Trust

Moments with Trees is a two-year Heritage Lottery Funded project initiated by Nene Park Trust with four aims in mind: To enhance public knowledge and understanding of Nene Park’s trees, to encourage children’s connection with them, to conserve the natural heritage and tree stock, and to reveal their past, celebrate their present and shape their future.

Moments with Trees is an overarching project managed by a dedicated full-time project officer under which there are three initiatives to engage all ages; Branching Out, the Big Tree Hunt and Tree Stock Surveys, in addition to multiple awareness raising events throughout the year.

Branching Out targets primary schools with the aim of encouraging the children to visit the Park which is within walking distance from them.  A project officer goes into the primary schools to deliver an assembly detailing the story of the Park’s creation and the tree planting that took place in Peterborough in the 1970s.

The Big Tree Hunt is a 3.7 mile walk from Peterborough city centre to Nene Park. Along the journey, interesting trees are highlighted to demonstrate the importance and the variety of trees outside of the Park. The walk is also designed to encourage those who do not have access to transport to walk from the city centre to the Park.

The Tree Stock Surveys involve recording the number and diversity of the trees over the 1,750 acres of Nene Park. The surveys are then utilised to support stock woodland management and to inform visitors of the tree variety.

Multiple awareness events have also been organised at Nene Park to encourage children and adults to appreciate trees under the Moments with Trees initiative which is also supported with online material. From daily tree tweets to monthly newsletters and tree-themed films produced on the Nene Park Trust YouTube channel, those involved in the project are frequently updated.

Innovation and creativity have made Moments with Trees interesting to all ages.  For example a Native Tree Trail, which has always been present in Nene Park, has been combined with the popular game Top Trumps to encourage those on the trail o look at the trees in depth and compare them.

Since its activation in April 2017, the Moments with Trees project has recorded a total of 3,388 of volunteer hours. The Branching Out initiative has seen over 2,080 children educated in trees and 210 primary school children plant over 2,500 trees.  The events have brought over 380 people to the Park to learn about the trees planted.  The Twitter account also has over 450 followers and the newsletter more than 400 subscribers.

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