Come together - right now - over trees!

Have you got soil under your fingernails yet?

Saturday 25th November marks the start of National Tree Week 2017, which stretches over two weekends to include Tree Dressing Day next weekend, ending on Sunday 3rd December. The Tree Council launched National Tree Week in 1975, timing it to mark the start of the winter tree planting season. Getting your hands dirty and planting a tree is a great way to show you want trees in your life, and lots of people will be doing exactly that this week. If you can’t plant a tree this year, don’t worry! It’s not the only thing you can do to show your love of trees.

Celebrate and protect trees by signing our Charter

Charter for Trees

Supporters and volunteers can all get involved with tree planting (Photo: WTML/ Matt Larsen-Daw)
Supporters and volunteers can all get involved with tree planting (Photo: WTML/ Matt Larsen-Daw)

Woodland Trust staff, supporters and volunteers have trees on their mind all year round, but for many people trees are just background to life. For every conservationist, forester, arborist, hedge layer or carpenter there is someone who travels to an office in a train, car or bus and works on a computer all day. Everyone benefits from trees – from the air that they breathe to the wooden objects and furniture that they use daily. Not everyone realises it. Research shows that spending time among trees lowers stress and improves our mood, and even seeing trees from the window of our office or car helps us to feel calmer and concentrate better. That’s a lot of reasons to celebrate the trees in our lives!

This year’s National Tree Week is a special one, coming just weeks after the launch of the Charter for Trees, Woods and People at Lincoln Castle on 6th November 2017 (treecharter.uk). Drafted with input from more than 70 cross-sector organisations, led by the Woodland Trust, the charter focuses around 10 Principles, which were shaped by more than 60,000 stories from people across the UK expressing the role that trees play in improving their lives. Since these 10 Principles were announced in March 2017 more than 125,000 people have signed their names to stand up for a society in which people and trees stand stronger together. It’s never been clearer how much people across our society value trees.

10 Charter Principles (Photo: WTML)
10 Charter Principles (Photo: WTML)

One of the Principles of the Tree Charter is that we should Celebrate the Power of Trees to Inspire. This means not only that we should recognise the incredible art and literature inspired by trees, but also that we should come together in celebration and shared enjoyment of trees and woods. Most of the time we enjoy trees in a private way – admiring them as we pass by, or watching branches sway from a window in quiet moments of contemplation. It is important that we talk about trees and come together to act when they are threatened, so that their value to society can be visible to decision-makers and to those who may otherwise miss out. National Tree Week provides a focus for all of UK society to be reminded of this once a year, and a great way to turn this into positive action is to revisit the 10 Tree Charter Principles.

A national day for trees, woods and people. Trees deserve to be celebrated. Each year the whole of UK society should unite in celebrating the value and importance of trees and woods to people. On the last Saturday in November each year, as part of National Tree Week, local communities, schools, organisations and individuals should mark a national ‘Tree Charter Day’ with activities and events that celebrate and reinvigorate the relationship between people and trees.
Charter for Trees, Woods and People , Celebrate the Power of Trees to Inspire, Article 1.

This year, many schools, local councils and community groups are making their commitment to standing up for trees and woods visible by planting a Tree Charter Legacy Tree. 800 of these special saplings are being planted across the UK, marking the 800 years between the 1217 Charter of the Forest and the 2017 Tree Charter.

Get involved!

For more information about the history of National Tree Week, and to find tree-related activities and events that are happening near you, visit The Tree Council’s website, or join the conversation on Twitter with #NationalTreeWeek #TreeCharter.