More than 9,000 trees have been planted in and around Llanidloes thanks to one man’s effort to bring the community together to fight climate change.
Phil Stallard – who has previously won awards for his campaign work within the community – has guided a collaboration of more than 70 local landowners, resulting in thousands of new trees planted, and the formation of a community orchard.
In addition, all three-hundred pupils at Ysgol Gynradd Llanidloes Primary School have planted a tree in the local area.
Phil’s desire to plant more trees in and around his hometown of Llanidloes was sparked by the increased coverage of the climate emergency in recent months.
He explained: “Last year, the climate emergency really came to the fore. As an individual it’s easy to feel powerless, but if there’s one simple intervention, it’s planting trees. I decided to speak to Coed Cadw, The Woodland Trust in Wales, to see if I could get any help with launching a planting project in my local area.”
The aim of Phil’s proposed project tied in perfectly with Coed Cadw’s priorities of landscape scale working and climate action, but as Coed Cadw’s Laura Shewring explained, “With thousands of trees to distribute across Wales, we knew that we would need some extra support to get it done. We approached Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, and luckily, they agreed to provide the extra help required.”
Prompted by Phil’s passion and aided by his strong connections within the local community, a successful working partnership was born. Coed Cadw provide the trees for the project, whilst Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust oversee the job of site selection – ensuring trees are planted in the right places, without damaging any potentially important habitats. Then Phil, the landowners and his community of local volunteers ensure that the trees get planted.
Phil said, “It’s amazing how people have taken the project to their hearts. In March, 5,000 native saplings arrived in a friendly farmer’s yard, ready to be dished out to would-be planters across the district, and we did forty-three sites in all, from three-hundred trees at the local primary school, one planted by each pupil, to three rowans in a small suburban garden. Covid cancelled some of our community planting events, so in the end I even dug-in a thousand of the trees myself!
“Many of the trees have gone to create new copses in fenced-off field corners, or to plump out hedges. For me it’s been wonderful to chat with people over the gate about how they can make a positive impact, and the whole thing is snowballing, as neighbour talks to neighbour.”
Laura from Coed Cadw summarised, “Phil’s enthusiasm, commitment and great local contacts gave us confidence that his project would be successful, and these trees would be found good homes. It has been a pleasure to visit the sites and speak to people who are so enthusiastic about their new trees, and the best news is, there are still another 5,000 to come – these will be delivered and planted over the next few months.”