Dead Hedging Initiative Wins Best Conservation Project Award

Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards 2024

At a ceremony held on 18 June at the Pomme D’Or Hotel, Jersey Trees for Life’s ‘Dead Hedging’ Project was named Best Conservation Project at the Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards. Established in 1990, the awards honour local environmental and conservation initiatives across the islands.

In the aftermath of Storm Ciarán, the project saw hundreds of volunteers mobilised to construct ‘dead hedges’ from storm-fallen trees. Deadwood is important as it supports over 9,000 species in the UK & Channel Islands, including fungi, mosses, lichens, plants, birds, mammals, and 1,700 invertebrates. The initiative boosts biodiversity, provides wildlife habitats and corridors, and recycles biomass, enriching soil as the wood decomposes.

Jersey Trees for Life expressed surprise and delight upon receiving the award, explaining:

‘Our work on the Dead Hedging project has many facets: we engage in direct efforts to recycle and create dead hedges, undertake replanting to replace lost trees and hedgerow, and aim to educate others about the crucial importance of dead wood to our ecology and wildlife. The devastation caused by Storm Ciaran came at our busiest time, and we mobilised around 600 volunteers, balancing regular replanting efforts with the urgent need to recycle the dead wood from the storm’.

The £3,000 prize money will be invaluable in continuing this vital work and sustaining our island’s environment for the future by maintaining and planting trees and hedgerow in Jersey

Michelle Steele, HR & PR Executive for Insurance Corporation and Chairperson of the Judging panel, praised the project, stating, ‘Replanting trees lost to storms is crucial. Jersey Trees for Life and their volunteers are vital in restoring our woodland ecosystems and biodiversity, making use of the fallen wood, whilst working to replace it with new growth’.

JSPCA was awarded Runner-Up for their Renovation of Woodland Walk Project, aimed at restoring and enhancing the Côtil site with an initiative which aims to enhance the space, promoting wildlife, creating sensory areas for dog walking and providing a calming, educational and safe environment for all.

School & Youth Group Green Award: Jersey College Preparatory School Eco Team was recognised for their dedication to eco-friendly practices and environmental awareness. Their activities included recycling, planting, and promoting wildlife conservation.

Michelle Steele commended the students, saying, ‘The enthusiasm of JCP’s Eco Club is inspiring, motivating the entire school to engage in environmental initiatives’.

Islanders were also invited to vote for their favourite entry through an online poll, to win The Peter Walpole People’s Choice Award. The Award was created in honour of the founder of Insurance Corporation and was won by Hannah Le Morvan for her Small Mammal Acoustics in the Channel Island Project. This project investigates Channel Island shrews’ distribution, habitat, and climate change impacts using innovative acoustic detection techniques.

Michelle said ‘in a record-breaking year we were delighted by the particularly high number of votes received and interest from the public and it was fantastic to see the support for Hannah’s project which supports the wildlife in our islands.

Meanwhile Young Conservationist of the Year: Anna Smith won here award for her project on ‘Assessing the Macroalgae Contributions toward Jersey’s Blue Carbon’. This research aims to quantify macroalgal carbon contributions and assess the impact of bottom trawling on ocean sediments, guiding marine conservation efforts.

Michelle summarised ‘our awards have been running for over three decades and we continue to be delighted by the diverse and exciting range of entries we receive. There are so many islanders committed to protecting and enhancing the natural environment within the island and this must be a wonderful thing for our community and the future of Jersey – our congratulations go to them all’.