The first project funded by Ground Control’s landmark Evergreen Fund has begun to bear fruit, with an army of green-fingered volunteers planting 1,100 trees over the last two months.

The Evergreen Fund has thrown its support behind BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s ‘Ourboretum’ project’, a campaign to replace many of the tens of thousands of trees in Gloucestershire that are being devastated by ash dieback disease, with a goal of planting 2,020 saplings.

The first phase of the project will involve the fund supplying plants, compost, and labels. Over the next few months, it will identify suitable areas across Gloucestershire for the young trees to be transplanted next year, along with the funds and expertise for them to replanted.

The scheme has caught the attention of locals, with an army of volunteers have leaping to the challenge and planting 650 acorns, 200 beechmast, and 270 hazelnuts since late July.

The goal of the ‘Ourboretum’ campaign is to negate the effect of ash dieback. Almost 90% of ash trees in Gloucestershire – the UK’s third most common tree – are expected to die from the incurable fungal disease within the next few years, having a devastating knock-on effect on local landscape and wildlife.

Mark Connelly, land management officer for the Cotswolds National Landscape, said: “We’re delighted with the response so far to Ourboretum!

“It’s really captured people’s imaginations in Gloucestershire, and we’re really pleased so many people are already involved!

“We’re also pleased that the project caught the attention of Ground Control – who are now supplying us with around 2,000 pots, as well as compost and labels to help people continue to join in with this brilliant project.”

The Evergreen Fund was successfully launched earlier this year, supported by 5% of Ground Control’s annual net profits, and will invest in projects and ventures focussed on carbon reduction, sustainability and environmental protection.

As part of that commitment, the fund will dedicate £100,000 each year to native tree planting, serving as a catalyst and amplifier for projects with our customers, government organisations, charities, private landowners, our supply chain and other partners.

The rapid success and enthusiasm of the volunteers involved in the ‘Ourboretum’ campaign is a clear indication of the positive role the fund can play.

More projects are due to be announced over the autumn and winter months – so stay tuned!

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