SPRINGWATCH presenter Michaela Strachan is encouraging people across the UK to hug 100 trees this summer to raise money for rainforest protection.

Conservation charity Rainforest Trust UK has organised the Hug 100 Trees campaign as a way for children of all ages to spend time in nature this summer and help the planet at the same time.

Those taking part are encouraged to hug any tree they like throughout the summer – the only rule is that they must be 100 different trees. All those taking part will also receive a free, limited edition Rainforest Trust UK Hug 100 Trees T-shirt.

All money raised in the Hug 100 Trees campaign will be directed to the charity’s Rainforest Climate Action Fund, which supports the planet’s most important rainforest protection projects. Rainforest Trust UK guarantees that 100 per cent of every donation will be used to protect our planet’s most threatened tropical forests, as they cover all their running costs through donations from their Board of Trustees and Gift Aid – and all donations will be matched 1:1 by supporters of the charity, meaning every pound donated saves twice as much rainforest.

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“We've all missed hugs in the last year,” said Michaela Strachan, “so let's celebrate hugging by doing Rainforest Trust UK's Hug 100 Trees challenge! The natural environment has been such a huge source of comfort and brought so many of us peace and calm in our recent uncertain and chaotic lives. It's time for us to give back, and what a great way to give back – raising money while giving hugs! C'mon, get tree hugging for the planet!”

Chris Redston, executive director of Rainforest Trust UK, said: “We’re asking the British public to join Michaela Strachan in supporting this fun family-friendly campaign over the summer holidays. The money raised will be used to protect the planet’s most threatened rainforests, which not only stores hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon, but also provide vital habitat for thousands of endangered species, such as tigers, elephants, orangutans, chimpanzees, macaws and jaguars. So, release your inner tree-hugger and join our campaign to save the rainforests today!”

Haddon Spender, Hug 100 Trees campaign manager at Rainforest Trust UK, added: “Deforestation causes about 15 per cent of all net global carbon emissions, which is the same as every bus, train, car, plane, ship and truck on the planet combined. Rainforests are currently being destroyed at a rate of about 70,000 acres a day, mainly through deliberate burning and clearing for cattle ranches, soy plantations and palm oil. Protecting our remaining rainforests is probably the most effective and cost-efficient way to fight climate change and save endangered species at the same time.”

For more information on the Hug 100 Trees campaign, click here.

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