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Tree planting set to raise awareness of climate change

Published: 10 January 2020

Tree Planting A tree will be planted in Belmont Park on Saturday 18 January

A tree is to be planted in an Exeter park to raise awareness of climate change and deforestation in Africa.

Local charity Exeter Ethiopia Link will plant the tree in Belmont Park on Saturday 18 January.

The charity has donated the tree to the City Council-run park to make it even greener and remind people about the work they are carrying out in Ethiopia.

2020 will be the Year of the Tree for Exeter Ethiopia Link. They will be turning their attention to tree planting in Nekempte, the town in Ethiopia they first made links with 32 years ago.

The charity was set up in 1987 by Exeter people who responded to the tragic pictures of famine shown on our on TV screens. It followed hot on the heels of the famous Band Aid initiative and the charity is still going strong.

These days the charity focuses on a positive improvement each year. 2019 was the Year of the Library, with the group paying librarian salaries and setting up libraries in Nekempte schools. The libraries project is continuing with the support of national funding.

Looking for a new focus for 2020, the group decided it was the right time to respond to a request from people in Nekempte to raise funds to plant trees, which will help tackle deforestation and climate change in Ethiopia, as well as making the area more beautiful. 

Membership secretary Gentian Dyer said: “Ethiopia has set a high bar by being the country which planted 350 million trees in a single day! We want to do our bit to contribute.”

The group recently met with the Council to identify a suitable spot where the tree can thrive. The tree will honour the late John Rainger who supported the charity.

The project has caught the imagination of the Exeter’s Lead Councillor for Equality, Diversity and Communities, Cllr Amal Ghusain, who said: “Climate Change affects us all, whether we live in Exeter or Ethiopia. I’m looking forward to seeing what is achieved in 2020. Nekemte is a similar size to Exeter, so it’s easy to feel a connection.”

Cllr Oliver, Member Champion for Equality & Diversity, said: “Thanks to hard working volunteers, and the Council’s help, we will have one more flourishing tree in Belmont Park and many more planted in Nekempte this year.

“Everyone is welcome to the tree planting event, which will be at 2pm on Saturday January 18, near the new community hut in Belmont Park. It will be a chance to learn more about the charity's impact. A small donation made in Exeter goes a long way in Nekempte.”

To find out more about the initiative email or visit their website

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