Amy Bray, environment campaigner and founder of educational environment charity Another Way, has been named Ambassador for DEFRA’s Year of Plant Health. DEFRA’s Year of Plant Health is part of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization initiative designating 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. The campaign is in place to raise awareness of how, by protecting plant health, we are protecting the benefits plants provide to all of us, to wildlife, the environment and economy.
Amy Bray, founder, Another Way said: “The air we breathe and most of the food we eat are provided by plants. Plants also support a large horticultural industry providing jobs to over half a million people. Additionally, as we know from tree planting projects woodlands remove significant pollutants from the air. We need to ensure we are doing everything we can to nurture, protect and increase the plants that provide us with the means to live our lives. This subject is extremely important to me and equally for the future of everyone on the planet. I am looking forward to taking part in the events DEFRA is organising this year and to help raise awareness of the significance plant life has for us all.”
For the UK, factors such as globalisation of trade, increased travel and more plants and plant products entering the country mean more threats to plant health. Protecting the country from harmful pests and diseases means that plants can thrive in the future. It is therefore essential for everyone to understand how they can contribute to assuring our food support systems.
Chief Plant Health Officer, DEFRA, Nicola Spence, said: “We’re thrilled to have Amy on board as an International Year of Plant Health ambassador. Increasing globalisation and environmental change have huge implications for the health of the world’s plants and trees, so it’s great to see Amy encouraging younger people to plant trees and consider their role in environmental protection. Amy’s knowledge, passion and experience in conservation makes her an ideal candidate and we are looking forward to working with her this year.”
There will be a number of events happening throughout the year including the International Year of Plant Health photography competition run by the United Nations. In the UK Plant Health Week will take place from the 20th– 27thApril, children’s Big Hunt trail activities will take place at various sites across the country, a special garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 19th– 23rdMay and National Tree Week 30thNovember – 6thDecember.
DEFRA has provided five simple tips people can follow to take their first steps in helping to support this campaign:
- Take care of plants at home and office
- Source plants from reputable nurseries and suppliers
- Don’t bring back plants from abroad
- Report any unusual symptoms on trees and plants to the FCT Tree Alert
Clean your boots – after visiting woodlands and parks to help limit the spread of potentially devastating plant diseases