Harper Adams University: First fruits of a lasting memorial of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year take root at Harper Adams University

A collaboration between Harper Adams University and the local community has seen the first fruits of a plan to create a lasting memorial of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.

A weekend of planting, involving Harper Adams University students and staff and Edgmond Wildlife Group across two days, saw the first planting of fruit and nut trees which are intended to form natural orchard and nuttery along a public footpath on the University farm that the whole community can enjoy.

The trees were planted along a public footpath which forms part of the Harper Adams estate over the weekend of January 22-23, with University staff, including Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan, and students – including Students’ Union President Emily Brown and a number of the Harper Adams international student community – among those who took part.

Professor Sloan said: “Planting fruit and nut trees to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and contribute to the Queen’s Green Canopy has provided a valuable opportunity to bring members of the University and local communities together.

“This will be one of a number of such events to ensure that those in the local community feel welcome in, and part of, the University.”

Over the two days, a range of fruit and nut trees including a number of heritage varieties were planted, including a wide variety of apple trees, pears, plums, cherry, gage, quince and damson.

Single walnut, mirabelle, melder, hazel and apricot trees were also added, and the Tree Council also assisted with additional hedge planting along the path, on the southern side of the campus across the B5062 Shrewsbury road.

Mark Hall, Harper Adams University Grounds Manager, said: “After an initial idea raised by Scott Kirby our Farm manager some years ago, I was delighted to see that we finally have some fruit trees within our farm land.

“This will mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, but it’s not just for this year – these trees will grow on for many years, providing interest for staff students and the local community who use this footpath.

“The trees will also benefit the wildlife in this area with plenty of food from late summer into mid-winter, and what does not get eaten will provide a great environment for our fungi and other soil organisms – and the trees will also going a little way to reducing carbon.

“I am grateful for all who help in bringing this project together, and long may it be enjoyed by all.”

The event not only drew volunteers from the University, but also from the wider community – with current High Sheriff of Shropshire, and former Harper Adams Governor, Tony Morris-Eyton, his wife, joining in with Sunday’s planting and members of the Edgmond Wildlife Group digging in to lend their support across the weekend.

Chairperson of the Edgmond Wildlife Group, Jonathan Lloyd, added: “Seventy Years and Seventy Trees, what a fantastic weekend – we would like to thank Harper Adams University for inviting Edgmond Wildlife Group and its volunteers to take part in this great conservation project.

“We hope this will be the start of a strong relationship with the University and lead to other shared conservation initiatives in future years.

“The whole event was superbly organised by Scott and Mark, who went to extraordinary lengths to prepare the planting area and organise all the necessary resources, including the most welcome refreshments!

“The fruits of our labours can now be shared with all those who walk our local paths, and of course will provide a range of feeding opportunities for local wildlife. What a glorious sight they will be in years to come when the spring blossom appears.

“Edgmond Wildlife Group was formed during the pandemic in 2020, but despite this, we have gone from strength to strength. We are not only keen to engage our community in wildlife conservation work in our village but also support other projects like this in the surrounding countryside.”

A further planting event in February will involve the Edgmond Scouts and their families, while the University has also supplied trees to be planted at forthcoming events in Newport, Edgmond and at Chetwynd Deer Park in the coming month.

Each event is part of a nationwide planting of trees to mark the Platinum Jubilee, the Queen’s Green Canopy. The location of the trees will be added to the national digital map that is being created as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.

The initiative invites people from across the United Kingdom to mark the Queen’s Jubilee year through the planting of trees – creating a legacy which will honour the Queen’s leadership of the nation and benefit future generations.

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