To mark the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) Ground Control has planted a ‘First Avenue’ to recognise twenty-six of the UK’s environmental heroes – a diverse group of leading environmentalists and unsung green champions taking pioneering action to tackle climate change and reverse nature’s decline.

Twenty-six young Alder, Beech, Birch, Hornbeam, Field Maple and White Willow trees were planted on November 8, 2021 at The Wildfell Centre for Environmental Recovery a 296-acre site near Braintree.

Each tree on the COP26 ‘First Avenue’ will be dedicated to an Environmental Hero, an individual who Ground Control wishes to personally recognise for their tangible contribution to nature’s recovery and climate change. We are delighted to announce that the first twelve Environmental Heroes commemorated are (in no particular order) –

  • Julia Davies (We have the Power)
  • Jeremy Leggett (The Bunloit Estate)
  • Tony Juniper (Natural England)
  • Chris and Helen Neave (Make it Wild)
  • John Meehan (Essex County Council)
  • Isobel Godsell (Old Bolingbroke & Hareby Parish Council)
  • Hauke Koch (The Royal Botanic Garden, Kew)
  • Mark Connelly (Cotswold National Landscape)
  • John More (Essex Wildlife Trust)
  • Julie Baddeley (Chapter Zero)
  • Isabella Tree (Award-winning author)
  • Ben Kellard (Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership)

The remaining sixteen Environmental Heroes will be awarded by Ground Control colleagues through an open nomination, and we’re encouraging nominees for UK ‘local’ eco-champions! That’s members of the external maintenance, landscape and EV charging infrastructure community and Ground Control supply chain who have made a big difference over the past year, either through projects they’ve conceived and delivered or by giving their time and energy to allow, encourage and inspire others to tackle climate change and reverse nature’s decline.

Chris Bawtree, Woodland Creation Lead Ground Control, said:

As the UK gears up to start a decade of accelerated climate action, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the inspirational Environmental Heroes who are already driving change and delivering positive action. Whether at local or national level, the heroes dedicated within our inaugural COP26 First Avenue are helping to inspire us all to do more for the planet and bring natural life back from the brink.”

COP26 ‘First Avenue’ is the first planting to take place at The Wildfell Centre since Ground Control’s Evergreen Fund purchased the estate in March 2021. It kicks off an ambitious programme of native woodland restoration and ecological recovery that will include the planting of 150,000 trees by 2025.

Further Information:

The Evergreen Fund – Launched May 2020, The Evergreen Fund, dedicates 5% of Ground Control’s annual net profits to a £5 million Impact Venture Fund dedicated to environmental initiatives and carbon sequestration. In addition to providing seed and growth capital to companies and social enterprises that are focused on delivering measurable, beneficial and sustainable environmental impact, the fund dedicates £100,000 each year to native tree planting, serving as a catalyst and amplifier for projects with customers, government organisations, charities, private landowners, supply chain and other partners.

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