Local MP, Philip Dunne, joined pupils and staff at St. Lawrence CE Primary School, Church Stretton, and National Trust Rangers to plant a tree as part of the National Trust’s BlossomWatch campaign, as part of National Tree Week.
The National Trust launched #BlossomWatch last year when the country had just entered lockdown, with a growing body of evidence suggesting that time spent daily connecting with nature is vital to human wellbeing. Research shows that just 20 minutes could help to improve your mood. But only six per cent of adults and seven per cent of children take the time to celebrate seasonal events such as the first day of spring.
Flowering trees and shrubs blossom to advertise the pollen and nectar that awaits visiting pollinators. The blossoming sequence of willow and blackthorn from the end of February through to apple and hawthorn into May are crucial for many wild bees that coincide their emergence with a preferred blossom period.
The children at St. Lawrence CE Primary School, Church Stretton, will be able to watch their new cherry tree grow and blossom as we emerge out of winter and into spring next year.
Mr Dunne said: “I was delighted to answer great questions from about the environment at a special Assembly of all the children at St Lawrence Primary School. Some of us then planted a cherry tree together as part of the National Trust’s BlossomWatch campaign. I am grateful to Stretton Climate Care for helping arrange the event and to National Trust rangers who provided the tree and explained to the children how vital trees and blossom are to pollinators and other wildlife in our area.
Getting school children involved in government schemes to plant trees was one of the recommendations of the Environmental Audit Committee’s report into biodiversity, so I am very pleased to help put this into practice in South Shropshire. We must act to halt species decline in the UK, and giving space for nature - like planting a tree – is a great way to do that.”
An abundance of wildlife thrives on blossom. Bees seek pollen from wild cherry and apple blossoms. Caterpillars and butterflies love the leaves of goat willow and elderflower blossoms. Song thrushes and blackbirds eat the fruit produced by the trees and hunt for insects among the blossom. Badgers, mice, voles and foxes eat the fruit that falls to the ground.