The Parks Trust has teamed up with city schools to launch a comeback for the elm tree by planting 20 elm saplings around the city on Tuesday.
The project is part of The Great British Elm Experiment, an initiative by The Conservation Foundation, where elm saplings from parent trees which have survived Dutch elm disease are being planted around the country.
The Trust, together with six schools, will monitor the trees for the next ten years to help find out whether the trees have survived by chance or whether they have built up a resistance to Dutch elm disease.
Nicky Saunders, Education Coordinator at The Parks Trust, said: “It’s fantastic for schools and for the Trust to be involved with this. Dutch elm disease wiped out over 20 million trees in the UK and this experiment will help find out whether some of the parent trees really are resistant to the disease, whilst hopefully allowing a new generation of elms to become established for the future.”
Slated Row school planted trees at Near Trinity Church, Old Wolverton, Downs Barn School and Brooksward School at Linford Wood, Loughton Manor First School at Loughton Valley Park, Denbigh School at Shenley Wood and Giles Brook School at Howe Park Wood.
The elms will be registered on a special elm map and their ‘guardians’ will record the health of their trees and their growth over the years.
Nicky said: “We chose the sites around Milton Keynes so that the schools can get to them easily and see how their trees are getting on. It’s a great way for children to engage with the natural world and learn about caring for the environment.”
To find out more about The Parks Trust’s environmental education activities visit www.theparkstrust.com.