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#YouBuyWePlant - Nursery News with Charlie Young Vol.3

Charlie Young is Marine Scientist and Feel Good Ambassador hailing from the rugged coastline of Pembrokeshire. Having spent her career researching the impacts of humans in the ocean, Charlie has joined the team to help inspire our community about seagrass and spread the word about our mission to restore these underwater meadows in collaboration with Project Seagrass.

The Final Chapter

Its been seven months since the first seeds were planted at the nursery, and six since the first saplings emerged. Over the last couple of months, the Project Seagrass team has been tending to these precious saplings and as the last of the summer sun faded, the challenge of keeping them alive increased.


Weathering storms, flooding and freezing temperatures, the team has come up against a wealth of daily challenges, but despite it all, they’ve managed to keep the saplings alive, and the success of this pioneering project continues. In fact, the team has done such a good job that by November, the saplings had already outgrown their pots and so began the mammoth task of replanting all 400 seedlings in new containers, so the shoots could continue to grow and prosper. 

 

Much like the planting process, one by one, each sapling was carefully extracted from its pot and planted into a wider and deeper one, along with a couple of other saplings. As seagrasses grow both vertically and horizontally—their blades reaching upwards and their roots down and sideways—these new pots will be crucial in allowing them the space to grow, and with time, hopefully, mature into fully grown adults. 


This pot change was also a great opportunity for the team to take a closer look at each sapling and see what was happening beneath the sediment surface. Similar to grasses on land, seagrass shoots are connected underground by a network of large root-like structures called rhizomes. The rhizomes can spread horizontally under the sediment and produce new shoots. This means that many stems within the same meadow can actually be part of the same plant with the same genetic code, something known as clonal growth. When examining the delicate root structures of the seedlings, the team observed that some of the seedlings had in fact started to develop rhizomes, meaning that some of the shoots were part of the same plant which had already grown extra shoots. This finding is a fantastic sign that the saplings are enjoying life in their indoor pools, and a testament to the incredible work of the nursery team in producing the perfect conditions for sapling growth. The team will now continue to monitor the saplings in their new homes, and as we move into a new year, we hope for as much success for them as the last.

Over and out.

When I joined the #YouBuyWePlant campaign as the ambassador at the beginning of the year, our collective vision was to inspire as many people as possible about these underloved and undervalued meadows and to raise as much money for Project Seagrass as possible. Ten months later, we can excitingly say that we have achieved that. The campaign has been an incredible success, and thanks to the support of people from around the UK, we have raised enough money to plant nearly 8000 seeds at the nursery - seeds that will help advance the restoration of these endangered meadows across the UK, and beyond. 


I couldn’t have imagined a better news to end the year with. This achievement instils great hope in me that the tide is changing. Not only are fantastic organisations such as Project Seagrass making huge advancements in the science of ecosystem restoration, but it’s clear that the general population is waking up to the importance of nature, and seeing the benefit of ecosystems such as seagrass. This in itself is a huge win. We will never truly be able to revserse the damage being inflicted on the environment if people do not value it. But as the saying goes, “wars are won in the hearts of men.”

The campaign and its success is also an example for other businesses out there. For too long business hasn’t recognised its role in restoring, protecting and safeguarding nature. Too often it is the culprit and not the cure. But as this campaign proves, bussiness can be a force for good, and spearhead action which can not only contribute to changing the fate of an ecosystem, but contribute to changing industry. My hope is that the legacy of this campaign will be to inspire other businesses to do the same. To use their force for good. This campaign has shown theres an appetite for it. Be part #GenerationRestoration. 


Long live seagrass!


Over and out.


Charlie 

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