National Trust reveals 3.5 million investment results at Hidcote Manor

National Trust has announced that a newly restored semi-tropical plant house, a bathing pool and a summerhouse mural are just some of the results of 10 years of hard work and £3.5 million investment at Hidcote Manor garden in Gloucestershire.

The National Trust has now officially completed a major phase of reinstating many of the key historic structures in this world-famous garden thanks to the support of an anonymous donor, who matched every pound raised by the Trust up to £1.6 million.

Created by American-born horticulturalist Major Lawrence Johnston, Hidcote is one of the most inventive and influential gardens of the 20th Century. His creation was built around outdoor ‘rooms’ linked by views and design features influenced by the fashionable ‘Arts and Crafts’ style.

However, elements of the 10 acre garden fell into disrepair during the 1950s and as a result, 10 years ago, the National Trust set itself a target to recreate Hidcote as Johnston planned it.

National Trust gardeners and volunteers have spent a decade researching and piecing together Johnston’s original plans for his Cotswolds garden, putting in many thousands of hours of work into reinstating former structures and garden rooms which formed part of Johnston’s vision, with ‘habitats’ ranging from hi alpine to the sub-tropical.

Head gardener at Hidcote, Glyn Jones, who led the team working on the project, said:”This has been a huge undertaking but one that we’re very proud of. We really feel that we have managed to bring Johnston’s vision back to life. Visitors will be able to imagine Johnston and his guests enjoying the gardens, tennis courts and bathing pool back in the 1920s, 30s and 40s as they wander around.”

In Hidcote’s new incarnation, Johnston’s unique plant house has been given a new lease of life. It is once again filled with semi tropical plants such as citruses – orange and lemon – Fuchsias, South African Plumbago, Begonias and Oleanders. Fully glazed in the winter, in the summer the plant house was designed to have the panels along the front removed turning it into a floral arcade.

Mike Calnan, head of gardens and parks at the National Trust, said: “Hidcote is one of the most famous and important 20th Century gardens in Europe. It is of particular importance to the Trust because it is the first property acquired purely on merit for its garden.

“The team has done a fantastic job in turning the garden around, reinstating many structures, lost features and installing behind-the-scenes services to make it easier to maintain.

“Painstaking research has also been put into tracking down the plants Johnston used and reinstating former beds and planted areas. We may never know exactly how he arranged these to create the celebrated ‘Johnston’ style, but our challenge over the coming years is to move even closer towards that vision of perfection.”

Via EPR Network
More Environment press releases

Safetyshop Awarded Internationally Recognised ISO 14001-2004 Environmental Standard

Safetyshop, the UK’s leading manufacturer of safety signs and major supplier of health & safety equipment, achieves ISO 14001-2004 Environmental Management System (EMS) accreditation.

ISO 14001 EMS is an internationally recognised environmental standard awarded to businesses that illustrate objective evidence to ISO 14001 standard requirements. This includes identifying environmental impacts and steps to reduce their effects.

To achieve this prestigious industry standard Safetyshop had to demonstrate exceptional commitment to its environment management system.

EMS refers to the management of environmental performance that can be monitored, improved and controlled. It acts as a framework that focuses on continuous environmental improvement.

John Suthons, UK Quality Environmental Health & Safety Manager, says ‘ISO 14001 has helped Safetyshop to become more environmentally responsible and proactive in driving environmental improvement. To meet the requirements of ISO 14001 our EMS had to demonstrate continual environmental improvement in areas such as energy, water andwaste management, packaging, paper and hazardous substance control’.

Safetyshop has completed a number of environmental continuous improvement projects and a number are still ongoing. Here is an account of Safetyshop’s environmental projects:

Continuous environmental improvement projects Safetyshop has:
• introduced a Vickers energy management system to control its gas heating system – this will guarantee a saving of 30% gas usage
• implemented a dry mix recycling compactor for general waste management – this increases recycling by 75% and reduces general waste to landfill
• an ongoing paper consumption project – this reduces the number of printed pages in direct mail catalogues
• fitted low energy luminaire lighting in its recently refurbished warehouse – this reduces the level of electricity usage
• an ongoing packaging consumption project – this reduces in-house packaging as well as packaging brought in from suppliers
• increased the use of UV inks from solvent inks in its sign manufacturing process – this has reduced the amount of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and hazardous chemical waste produced

Safetyshop’s energy efficiency success
As part of the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF) climate change levy reduction scheme Safetyshop is required to report on energy use annually. The potential for lower levies incentivise companies to reduce carbon emissions. The success of Safetyshop’s energy initiatives was demonstrated in 2007 when throughput increased by over 20% while gas and electricity consumption actually fell by 2%.

Environmental issues are particularly central to the direct mail industry as a whole. Safetyshop wanted to respond positively by developing a business framework that puts sustainability at its core.

Peter Smart, UK Direct Mail General Manager, said ‘we are keen to be a part of environmental sustainability and want our customers and suppliers to know we are serious about environmental issues.’

Via EPR Network
Environment press releases

Rebuilding the Amazon Rainforest One Tree at a Time

What is Amazing Forest?

Yes, the Amazon rainforest is being cut down as you read this. 17% is already gone. The world’s lungs – as it’s referred to – is decreasing in size. Yes, everyone knows this. But what can we really do about it? The Amazing Forest is a chance to do something right from where you are, sitting in your chair, a few clicks and USD 60 away.

Amazing Forest is the venue where people from all over the world are combining their efforts into one single strain to restore the Amazon rainforest to its original state.

We sell trees. Not trees to be delivered to your door, but to be planted on your behalf, in your name, in a designated specific area of the Amazon rainforest. The trees being planted are new trees. So, instead of preserving already existing areas of the rainforest, the Amazing Forest is actually reversing deforestation. We take so much from Earth everyday; this is a way to give something back to it.

It’s a common saying that, to eternalise your passage in this life, one must have children, write a book and plant a tree. Well, the four tree species that are currently being planted in the Amazing Forest (they are native species typical of the region: jatoba, copaiba, ipe rosa and louro freijo) live in average 200 years.

And what’s cool about it, people get their own tree, which will never be cut down and remain throughout its life individualised by a name tag, with the name they choose for it.

“We want to give people the opportunity to make a difference for the environment while leaving their own positive footprint in the planet”, says Rodrigo Nascimbeni, the founding partner of the company, “a footprint so tangible and concrete that people can come and see it, show to their children, to their great-grand-children, to their friends…” he goes on referring to the fact that customers can visit their tagged trees in situ while walking inside the real Amazon rainforest.

Amazing Forest goes much beyond simply selling trees online, it is each person’s way to contribute to a better world and to guarantee that future generations will share the same bliss to live here on our planet.

And, better yet, this noble act of planting a tree and committing to a better world can be renewed as often as wanted. Each tree is sold for USD 60.

Besides doing your share of good for a better planet, people can buy trees either as a present for a loved one, a memorial, a way to mark an important occasion or as a simple and convenient method of offsetting their carbon emissions.

Amazing Forest launched on Monday the 23rd of May 2011. The first piece of land to be replanted is situated approximately 34 miles outside the city of Boa Vista, Roraima State in North Brazil (if you go to Google Maps, we’re right where the green arrow points to at these coordinates 2 29 44.40 N 60 56 40.85 W).

The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest. It is the home of the world’s richest area of plant and animal diversity and an enormous source of potential lifesaving medicines. Not only that, it is a massive carbon sink that acts as the lungs of the world. Sadly, it is believed that “at current [deforestation] rates, 55% of [the Amazon’s] rain forests could be gone by 2030 – a looming disaster not only for the region’s plants and animals, but for the world”. (Quote Source:

Who is behind Amazing Forest
Amazing Forest is the realisation of four guys. It all started when the Brazilian Rodrigo Nascimbeni and the New Zealander Ben Cook, two lifelong friends, decided to take on this journey.

“We don’t believe that the size of a task should limit your ambition,” says Ben Cook. “The sad fact is that over 17% of this forest which is so integral to the health of our planet has been devastated by deforestation. If we all wait for someone else to take on this problem then we might just be too late. Rodrigo and I believe we have the passion and the skills to make this project work as a viable business where we can have fun whilst using our respective abilities to actually do something positive for the world we live in.”

Before launching Amazing Forest, Rodrigo created something called a receivables investment fund, the first one in Brazil. He also started and managed a few companies in the financial sector – which means he probably just gave up a successful international career in Investment Banking to plant trees in the Amazon rainforest.

Ben, although he achieved an honours degree in Plant Science, is the co-founder of Shake Interactive, a digital marketing agency operating from South Africa and the UK.

The two met in 1993 when Ben took part in a Rotary youth exchange programme in the tiny town of Votuporanga in Brazil. What started as a mutual need to learn the others native tongue ended in a lifelong friendship. Both have always wanted to work together but their respective careers had taken them in opposite directions and to different hemispheres.

As Amazing Forest was boiling inside their minds, they met Manuel Haas and Florian Herzog, two German Forest Engineers – also lifelong friends – living in Brazil and widely experienced in rainforest management and regeneration. Manuel and Florian came on board at the founding stages and are now an integral part of the team.

Via EPR Network
Environment press releases

The National Trust Reveals Butterflies are Back this Summer

The National Trust has announced that this summer looks set to be the best for butterflies in more than 30 years as population’s boom, sales of butterfly products increase and butterfly imagery is adopted by big high street brands.

At the half way point in the butterfly season there has been a number of record breaking early appearances from spring species thanks to the warm and dry weather, especially in April.

The favourable conditions are also leading experts to predict that a number of species will produce extra generations this year.

Matthew Oates, wildlife adviser and butterfly expert at the National Trust said:
“It has been a fantastic start to 2011 for Britain’s butterflies with a White Admiral appearing at Bookham Common in Surrey at its earliest since 1893, the White-letter Hairstreak appearing more than two weeks early at Rodborough Common in Gloucestershire and Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns a week to ten days early atDenbies in Surrey and Exmoor.

“The populations of spring butterflies are as good as they can be. There may even be significant second broods for the Duke of Burgundy and Dingy Skipper butterflies – it’s all gearing up to what could be the best butterfly summer for a generation.”

Butterflies are also enjoying a revival in popular culture with sales of butterfly-themed products high and many large businesses such as John Lewis, Easy Jet, Samsung, Accessorize, Paper Chase, Laura Ashley and White Stuff using butterflies in their branding,

Rich Sutcliffe, Editor at Brand Republic said: “Butterflies are about reinvention and change, from caterpillar to a thing of beauty. Companies thinking about rebranding or repositioning a product have a clear message as they signify a natural new beginning.”

Butterflies are very popular in tattooing and are often created to mark a change in someone’s life. Famous names such as Cheryl Cole, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Drew Barrymore all adorn butterfly tattoos.

Lou Molloy, celebrity tattooist to the likes of David Beckham and star of ‘London Ink’, said: “Butterflies are one of the great recurring images in tattooing. I’ve tattooed them on many, many girls but they’re increasingly popular with men – I’ve recently finished a half sleeve that features four different types of butterfly and one of the most referenced photos from my website is another sleeve tattoo with a big Monarch in the centre. They’re one of the universally popular tattoo images.”

The first ever National Trust ‘Love Butterflies’ weekend will take place on the 6 and 7 August when the greatest number of species will be in flight.

Over the summer months the Trust will be encouraging people to upload their sightings and pictures of butterflies to its butterfly watch map. This can be done via twitter by entering the name of the species, postcode and #lovebutterflies. There will also be top tips on how to go butterflying and places to see butterflies on the National Trust website.

Via EPR Network
Environment press releases

The National Trust Announces Live Foaling at MyFarm

The National Trust has revealed that it will be broadcasting the birth of a foal live over the internet as part of its MyFarm experiment.

Queenie, the only Shire Horse mare at Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire is preparing to give birth, and the live streaming – which can be viewed now – is a key part of the MyFarm project, which aims to reconnect people with the realities of farming. It is the first major birth on the farm since the project started in May, and it was a huge decision to broadcast it.

Richard Morris, farm manager, said: “There’s no guarantee the birth will be straight forward, particularly as Queenie had a miscarriage last year and a previous foal had to be put down due to a deformity. We don’t want to hide people from the risks involved – it’s fundamental to our purpose in reconnecting people with the realities of farming to allow the possibility of lows as well as highs. If all goes well, MyFarm Farmers will be able to name the foal and so on, but not until it’s a few days old. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but that’s reality.”

Shire Horses are increasingly scarce with only 900-1,500 breeding females currently in the UK**, and while they are no longer a core part of the working operations on the farm, this birth is a significant moment for the entire breed and for Wimpole’s work with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).

With no way of knowing exactly when Queenie will foal, a webcam*** has been installed in her stable and MyFarm Farmers will be able to watch the whole birth as it unfolds, live on the MyFarm website. Infrared lighting is being installed to ensure that viewers will still be able to see the birth, even at night.

In the meantime, Queenie is being carefully monitored by Wimpole horse manager, Emma Warner.

Queenie will be looked after 24 hours a day until she gives birth and the farm’s vet will be on stand by in case he is needed.

Viewer can keep up-to-date with how Queenie is doing and watch the foaling live on the MyFarm website.

Via EPR Network
Environment press releases

The Co-operative Offers A Lifeline To Endangered And Protected Species

Endangered and protected species are being offered a lifeline by Britain’s largest farmer, The Co-operative Group.

The Group has set up a team of “Habitat Heroes” on six of its farms across the country, to help preserve some of the UK’s most iconic species, including water voles, otters, bats and red squirrels.

By launching the national wildlife initiative, The Group’s farming business joins leading environmental campaigners who are taking direct action to help preserve species under threat, in response to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, and continuing concerns over a global decline in biodiversity.

The Habitat Heroes project aims to identify where The Co-operative Farms can make investments and adaptations on the six farms to improve the habitats, feeding and breeding opportunities for endangered or protected species, helping to safeguard them for the future.

The Co-operative Group is funding the project, whilst its farming business has harnessed the support of farm managers, local environmental groups and volunteers to carry out the vital environmental work to improve and sustain the habitats of species that are indigenous to the farms.

Christine Tacon, Managing Director of The Co-operative Farms, said: “As Britain’s largest farmer we feel we have a responsibility to lead the way environmentally. The Habitat Heroes project gives us the chance to look at ways we can really make our land work for local wildlife.”

She added: “The beauty of this scheme is that we can keep on re-visiting and revising it. As part of the scheme, we will conduct regular surveys into the wildlife on our land to find out what is working and where we are seeing positive results, to help guide the environmental work we commit to in the future.”

The six farms taking part in the Habitat Heroes project are Goole in Yorkshire, Coldham in Cambridgeshire, Tillington in Herefordshire, Blairgowrie in Perthshire, Down Ampney in Gloucestershire and Stoughton in Leicestershire. Several of the sites have webcams to study the targeted species.

Via EPR Network
Environment press releases