Andy Carr is doing a ‘treemendous‘ job while shielding during Covid-19. He has planted 400 trees on his family’s farm – and many of them are grown from acorns and conkers.
Andy, from Maldon in Essex, has had to work from home over the past year, so when he finishes his daily work for UK Power Networks and has no need to commute to and from London, he starts growing a tree.
He works as a principal design co-ordinator for the electricity distributor, but also lives on a farm that has been in his family for more than 75 years. Run by his brother Phillip and father Peter, the farm grows wheat and oilseed rape as well as 20,000 free range organic turkeys a year.
Out of the 400 trees planted since lockdown there are currently 200 acorns and conkers in pots, 100 fir trees that will become natural windbreaks and 100 mixed willow, blackthorn and fruit tree cuttings. He is using them to reinstate hedgerows as natural borders to the fields.
Andy is often ably assisted by his two sons Alex, aged nine, and Aaron, five, and he is teaching them how important it is to plant trees for a better climate, with a young tree absorbing 5.9kg CO2 per year, while a 10-year-old tree absorbs 22kg CO2 per year.
Andy explained; “I was born and raised on the family farm so looking after the environment is in my DNA and I love wildlife. The family farm lost many trees to Dutch Elm disease and Ash Dieback over the years and so I’ve just decided to give Mother Nature a hand by replanting some.
We have identified about 6.5km of field edges and ditch lines that we intend to replant with trees and hedges over the next 5-10 years. In addition, we have introduced a number of beehives, and trees and hedges will help them flourish.”
Before lockdown Andy called on his colleagues in the engineering design team and they worked together planting hundreds of trees in Norsey Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) close to Billericay. The voluntary work was part of UK Power Networks’ Donate A Day scheme which gives the company’s 6,000 staff two days paid leave each year to volunteer in their local communities. The company is also delivering a Green Action Plan and is the first network operator to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard.
Andy is hoping that when lockdown ends he and his colleagues can donate their time again. He said: “We just need to plant bushes and hedges and make green areas again.”
An Essex Wildlife Trust spokesperson said; “New tree planting can play a vital role in tackling the climate and nature emergencies through protecting, connecting, and expanding high value natural habitats, where natural regeneration is not possible. The planting of these trees will help connect up our landscape, forming networks for wildlife to thrive and move across our landscape. Individual actions such as this will hopefully inspire others to take action for local wildlife, helping to rebuild ecological networks and tackling the climate crisis together.”