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How Anthony's 'mad idea' for a Million Trees is taking root

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Written by  Published in: MTD News

IT'S what Anthony Broderick calls his "mad idea".

Driving home from work one day, he noticed how few trees lined the side of the road.

And then came his eureka moment – he decided he would be the one to plant thousands of trees across Derbyshire.

Now, a year later, 2,500 trees have been planted – and there are plans to add 50,000 to that figure by 2021. "When I picked up on the idea, I realised there would be so many opportunities for more trees," he said. "With the change in environment and global warming, I thought it would be a good ploy to improve Derbyshire. You can lose tens of trees in a town every year and I feel giving the trees back would enhance the community for generations to come." His campaign, Million Trees, was launched on January 1 this year and, so far, more than 50 locations have benefited from it. He chose the name, not because it was his realistic target but because it had a ring to it, although he admits that if he could plant a million trees that would be even better. Last month, he successfully applied for a £25,000 grant from the Forestry Commission's Big Tree Plant scheme. The cash will be spent during the next three years to improve the environment and landscape by planting a minimum of 10,000 – that is 2,000 trees in 2011-2, 4,000 in 2012-3 and 4,000 in 2013-4. Mr Broderick said: "They're going to be planted at various locations around the county. At the moment we've got 750 to 1,000 planned to be planted in Hilton and 500 small trees in and around Derby." Unfortunately, the scheme hit a setback in the middle of the year when, because of a dry spring, two-fifths of the saplings planted died. "We lost around 400 trees," said Mr Broderick. "I was very disappointed. When you do all the work and then the trees die on you, you can't replant them straight away. You have to wait a year before replanting them. "We want to try and improve this year and make sure more trees survive. "It's hard work, there's no two ways about it. But when you drive past a tree you've planted and you think that's going to be there for 150 years – well, there's no better buzz than that." One day, he said, he hopes his saplings will be like the huge oak trees he drives past daily on his way home to Belper. He said: "If you drive through the Derbyshire countryside, you see fields with a massive oak tree in the middle of it, about 150 years old. "But there are so many of these old trees which are dying and not being replaced. They should be – Derbyshire would look a lot better for it." He said he was inspired by New York's push to plant a million new trees by 2017 to reduce air pollution, cool temperatures and help improve the city's long-term sustainability. The trees, which are bought from wholesalers for a cheaper price, are planted by Anthony and his team, which includes his three teenage children. So far, they have had requests from pubs, schools, sports clubs and golf courses. But now he wants to provide more trees so the people of Derbyshire can plant their own. A small one would cost only £2, while an young oak tree would be about £40. "You can plant a tree in memory of someone, or perhaps to celebrate the birth of a baby," said Mr Broderick. The trees are paid for through sponsorship, which comes from local businesses. Each tree is provided with a plaque, which states the name of its sponsor. "It's a win-win situation then," said Mr Broderick, who runs a property business in Chaddesden. But he said sponsorship was drying up now that Million Trees, a not-for-profit business, was entering its second year. Mr Broderick said: "Last year we got about £6,000 in sponsorship but this year we're only up to £3,000. "I'd like to get some of the big companies in the city involved. "We're a not-for-profit organisation so it's not like we're making any money from it. Among those to benefit from the scheme is Derby Rugby Club. Chairman Martin Murney said about 50 trees had been planted at its Haslams Lane ground in Darley Abbey . He said: "Mr Broderick approached us as part of his programme and asked us if we would like to accept the trees and we said it would be ideal for us. "We've had some planted to run along Haslams Lane and down the side of the training pitch. They're only saplings at the moment but it'll be nice to watch them grow. "And people at the club will be able to enjoy the trees for lifetimes to come." Next year, Mr Broderick is planning on branching out into educating youngsters about trees. He has come up with a "Grow an Acorn" scheme, which he hopes schools will get involved in. Youngsters would find their own acorn and nurture it until it grows into a tree. Mr Broderick said: "Two years later, they can take it home to their family. Growing a tree is a powerful thing." To order a tree or to get involved by volunteering, call Derby 369400 or 07967 108988, or e-mail Mr Broderick at anthony. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . More information can also be found at his website as www.milliontreesderbyshire.co.uk.

 

Read 225 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:09
Alex Houlton

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