Walkers urged to be elm detectives in nature initiative

The bright green blossom and seeds of an elm tree
The bright green blossom and seeds of an elm tree

Eastbourne walkers are being urged to turn elm detectives when out and about all along the Sussex coast over the next few days for The Conservation Foundation’s Ulmus Maritime elm project.

The project, which celebrates the area’s exceptional elm tree heritage, is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“It’s the perfect time for elm spotting and the forecast is good for the next few days,” said the Foundation’s James Coleman.

“Elms are easy to recognise at this time of year as they are covered in bright green blossom and seeds.

“We’re asking people to either log the sighting on the OpenElm mobile phone elm app which can be downloaded for iPhone and Android at www.ulmusmaritime.org or to add it to our online map there.”

Many species use elm trees to live and feed on, such as the White Letter-Hairstreak butterfly, and the sightings recorded will be used to update records on the Sussex Coast’s biodiversity.

While Dutch Elm Disease wiped out much of the population in most other parts of the UK, the Sussex coast is alone in having a large number of elms still growing but they too are under threat and the Ulmus Maritime project is working with East Sussex County Council to protect their future.

An exhibition of the elm tree’s special place in the life of the Sussex coast, its built environment, crafts and biodiversity will take place in Preston Park, Brighton, home of the National Elm Collection, in June.

A one-day seminar for tree professionals, The Protection and Legacy of our Elm Heritage, with speakers from the UK, Netherlands and Germany, will take place on Friday June 12, also in Preston Park.

For more information, please visit the website www.ulmusmaritime.org