The Allianz Tree Planting Day, held on Friday 25th February at Knowle Park in Cranleigh, saw 1,000 trees and shrubs planted as part of a new scheme to enhance the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and increase regional sustainability.
Held to celebrate the successful efforts of Allianz Insurance – one of the largest general insurers in the UK – in reducing their paper use as a business, including having removed 75% of their printers, the special tree planting event saw staff from the Guildford Head Office come together to help plant the native trees and shrubs.
Part of the Surrey Hills Corporate Champions programme, run by Community Interest Company, Surrey Hills Enterprises in partnership with charitable trust, Surrey Hills Society, the Allianz tree planting is the first corporate event of its kind, marking the first time an organisation has become involved in this pivotal programme to give back to the Surrey Hills AONB.
The Allianz tree planting day took place at Knowle Park, a new 60-acre public park and community project in Cranleigh, run by the Knowle Park Trust charity. Across three different planting sessions, Allianz staff donned their boots, rolled up their sleeves and got involved in digging and planting the native tree and shrub species that included English Oak, Sweet Chestnut, Black Cherry Plum, Scots Pine and Wild Crab Apple seedlings.
The area planted will be known as the ‘Allianz Copse’ and marked with a routed wooden sign, handmade by Deej Carter of Carving Designs, a local company based in Ewhurst. The trees and shrubs will be managed and maintained by Knowle Park Trust for the benefit of the community and future generations.
Attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux, the planting day was a great success and a huge amount of fun for Allianz staff, as well as being an important landmark event in promoting a sustainable future for the Surrey Hills.
Michael More-Molyneux, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, commented:
I applaud this excellent partnership between Surrey Hills Enterprises and Allianz, with the objective to plant more trees and to improve the environment and sustainability of our county. This is Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, and one of the major parts of the celebration is the planting of the Queen’s Green Canopy across the country, calling on individuals and organisations alike to plant trees for the beauty of the countryside, and as an everlasting reminder of The Queen’s service to our country. I applaud both organisations on their forethought and concern for our environment.
Commenting on the tree planting, Carolyn Rich, Head of Brand Marketing and Social Responsibility at Allianz, said:
Allianz employees care very much about the environment and it was great to get together to do something that is both symbolic and practical. We all get 20 volunteering hours a year and more than 120 colleagues used part of that time to plant these trees and secure the future of this area of natural beauty.
Following the Allianz Tree Planting Day, Wendy Varcoe MBE, Executive Director of Surrey Hills Enterprises, commented:
It was truly inspiring to see the staff of Allianz gather for the tree planting event at Knowle Park, celebrating their fantastic achievement in reducing their use of paper is a business, whilst in turn pledging their support for a sustainable future for the Surrey Hills. We are sure their efforts will prove to be an inspiration for many.
The corporate event follows the success of the first public Champions tree planting day last November, which saw 50 individual Surrey Hills Champions plant a new 50-metre long native hedgerow at Clandon Wood Nature Reserve in West Clandon. Champions – both individual and corporate – play an important role in protecting the Surrey Hills AONB for future generations, aiding nature recovery and supporting local wildlife to thrive.
For a donation of £25, those with a love of the Surrey Hills can sign up to become a Surrey Hills Champion, meaning they too can have the chance to attend a special tree planting day to have a sapling planted in their name, as well as receiving access to special offers with sustainable Surrey Hills businesses, exclusive events and updates.
To learn more about becoming a Surrey Hills Champion, visit: surreyhills.org/surreyhillschampion.