Globally, most people are aware of the destruction of the rain forests. Environmental campaigners are vociferous in their attacks on the perceived government lassitude on green issues as the recent protests in London illustrate.
Plant more trees!
The Green Alliance maintains that an area of 70,000 hectares should be planted with new trees every year to help combat climate change, that is approximately half the size of London! Rather ironically, this suggestion has been made to help reach the National Farmers Union target of zero carbon emissions from agriculture by 2040.
Land industries and farming, in particular, is the biggest polluter, emitting the highest level of greenhouse gases of any UK industry. So trees are seen as a great weapon in the campaign to slow down, even halt climate change. But if you were to walk down the average suburban road or through a park, how many trees could you actually identify?
Can you name five traditional British trees?
A recent poll revealed that although the public might perceive that trees are important, many cannot identify species such as oak, maple, ash or elder. Even more alarmingly, 25% of respondents were unable to name the tree from which the conker originates.
That may have something to do with the outlawing of conker fights in the school playground, deemed too unsafe for the Health and Safety pundits and the controversial removal of this word from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. A group of eminent authors and literary figures is campaigning to reinstate a list of nature words which are rapidly disappearing from children’s vocabulary but that’s another story!
Get outdoors, get planting
National Tree Week, 23rd November to the 1st December 2019 might seem a little counterintuitive as the trees are bare and most people are indoors with their thoughts firmly fixed on Christmas. But the winter is the main tree planting season and National Tree Week marks the commencement of it.
National Tree Week has been around since 1975 and was a response to the devastation of Dutch Elm Disease. The Tree Council has a diverse membership of voluntary groups, schools and local authorities all encourage tree planting initiatives. You might remember seeing a group of cold people huddled around a sapling on your local news? Well, that’s what it’s all about.
It’s not all about looking up
People can appreciate trees and their contribution to our environment in lots of different ways. Trees reputedly calm anxiety and put us in a better mood. But our appreciation at ground level can be limited.
Why not take to the air and enjoy a treetop walk of which there are several around the country? Bewilderwood in Norfolk is based around storybook characters and offers a world of fun and excitement for all age groups.
Salcey Forest is only seven miles from Northampton and is managed by the Forestry Commission. A relic of an ancient hunting forest, it has oaks that are over 600 years old. Stunning from both the ground and the walkway above the canopy, there are a variety of options to enjoy the wood, on foot or by bicycle, a fusion of trees, history and abundant wildlife.
Forests and woodland to visit in Leicestershire
If you really want to keep your feet firmly on the ground then why not enjoy Charnwood Forest, including Bradgate Park, which is a large expanse with a mixture of ancient woodland and open rugged areas.
The Woodland Trust details fifty woods in and around Leicester which you can visit, with helpful detail about access, facilities and what you can expect to see.
Trees in your garden
If you are lucky enough to have established and mature trees in your garden then you are already doing your bit for the environment and for wildlife and insect life. Garden design and garden furniture can really make the most of your trees or why not consider a tree house?
A tree house is an all-time favourite amongst young children and grandchildren and can really foster a spirit of the natural world in youngsters. They never seem to fall out of fashion. A tree house can be a simple DIY construction or something truly exotic.
And tree houses are not just for children. Re-discover your sense of adventure, the spirit of childhood and escape the modern world in a tree top hideaway. Lofty holiday homes are the new glamping sensation and you can holiday all over the UK and the world in a leafy retreat with no luxury spared. Enjoy a bird’s eye view and the calming sensation of utter removal from your normal hectic life.
Snap with an App
If you just want to confirm or increase your tree knowledge, there are loads of handy apps which you can download to your phone like FlowerChecker, NatureGate and Leafsnap. Leafsnap identifies trees from a fallen leaf on the ground which is a little bit easier than trying to get a good shot of a full-sized tree. Some of these apps – NatureGate – also include a check of insects, butterflies and birds on the move as well.