AN ANDOVER charity has joined hands with students and staff of a local college in celebrating 10 years of planting trees.

Andover Trees United, which is in its 10th year, is celebrating the special occasion with the Andover campus of Sparsholt College Group.

The college has been part of the Andover Trees United project for the past 10 years.

The project has now gained national and international recognition and is also celebrating the final year of creating Harmony Woods – a 10-year mission started in 2011 to turn 12 acres of land into a natural urban woodland, increasing biodiversity and providing a wealth of opportunities for learning in and about the environment.

Various departments from the college, including the Geography and Environmental Science department, have been planting trees with Andover Trees since the start of the project.

The college students spend time with younger students from local schools, helping them plant seeds in nursery beds, which will then grow into trees and be brought to Harmony Woods as a community gift.

Wendy Davies, founder of Andover Trees United, said: “The college will have many students who, over the years, have planted a tree in the wood and as the children grow, so do their trees and their understanding.

“The project was devised to enable young people to learn about the natural world, to take practical action against climate change, make a difference in their community and demonstrate that as local adults we do more than talk about the environmental crisis - we do things.

“With COP26 having just taken place, this is a brilliant time to make the discussions real and meaningful. I hope that you will agree that an hour (or two) spent in the wood, planting trees and learning first hand about environmental science will inspire them and advance their understanding.”

Lynne McCandlish, Geography and Environmental Science Lecturer, said: “The first year Environmental Science students visited Harmony Woods to assist local school children to plant trees as part of the 10th anniversary of Andover Trees United urban woodland project.

“The students really enjoyed assisting the Year 3 pupils engaging with this valuable local conservation project headed by Wendy Davies, who was recently awarded the Points of Light award by the Prime Minister, for her outstanding contribution to volunteering.”