NATURE lover Gabrielle Grace is doing her bit for the environment this Christmas.
The 62-year-old from Wellington is urging people to recycle their Christmas cards as part of a campaign by the Woodland Trust to plant more trees across the Somerset countryside.
Gabrielle is supporting the scheme in the hope that hundreds of cards will be dropped off at Marks & Spencer when the festive season ends this week.
Her efforts have already helped create a mini forest in Alhampton, east of Langport.
She said: “It was great visiting the new woodland on my doorstep.
“Even though many of the trees are still smaller than me, it already has an established feel to it and in a few years’ time it will be a really beautiful little wood.
“The trees are already providing a habitat for a huge variety of creatures, including many small mammals.
“It’s a mini-eco system and it’s great to think my small recycling efforts have helped to produce it.”
Gabrielle’s love of the countryside saw her ‘up sticks’ from a life in London to Wellington in Somerset six years ago to enjoy all that the county has to offer, from birdwatching to the annual Glastonbury Festival.
Gabrielle, who works part time for Somerset Churches Together, said: “Woodlands, especially those with a variety of tree species, are always wonderful places.
“One of my favourite areas of woodland is on the top of the Quantock Hills between Will’s Neck and Lydeard Hill – there are some wonderful old beech trees there with fantastic looping branches, and in frost or snow it’s truly magical.”
Somerset has 35,137 hectares of woodland, but only 11.6% of people living in the county have woods within 500m of their homes.
Jo Mathieson, of the Woodland Trust, said: “It’s a win, win – by recycling cards you’re playing a key part in turning unwanted waste into much needed trees.”
For more information see www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/christmascards