Without the incredible energy and commitment of Charter Branches, the Tree Charter would simply not have happened. More than 60,000 ‘tree stories’ were gathered across the UK in 2016 – many at local community events led by Charter Branches. These stories revealed the important role that trees play in the lives of people in 21st Century society, and analysis of these stories was used to define the 10 Tree Charter Principles.
Making the Tree Charter count
Since announcing the 10 Principles, the focus of Charter Branches has been to build support for the Tree Charter to ensure that it has the weight it needs for decision makers to take note and take actions that allow people and trees to benefit each other. Since March 2017, more than 125,000 signatures from adults and leaf prints from young people have been gathered in support of the Tree Charter at village fetes, visitor centres, schools, planting events, parish council meetings and local tree celebration events. This has ensured that the Tree Charter has reached people who might never have come across it online but agree that trees and woods should be recognised and supported as an integral part of UK society.
As the word has spread about the Tree Charter, so the Charter Branch network has grown and strengthened. There are now more than 500, representing communities in every corner of the UK, and including campaigning groups, schools, community woodland groups, parish and town councils, artist collectives, tree warden groups and more.
The future for Charter Branches
Charter Branches have made the Tree Charter what it is, and given it the strength to make real impact in society. Their role is not coming to an end with the launch of the charter, however. This grassroots movement for trees is needed more than ever to make the principles expressed in the charter a reality. This means shaping local policies to support the role of trees, and educating and informing people about the value of trees and what they can do as individuals to stand up for trees.
In spring 2018 the Charter Branch network will be refreshed with new resources and guidance from the Woodland Trust and other organisations involved in driving forward the legacy of the Tree Charter. The Tree Charter is a beautiful acorn that has taken root thanks to the ground being well prepared by our Charter Branches, but it will need careful nurturing and protection over the years ahead to ensure it continues to grow into a strong support for people and trees in the future.
Information about the next stage for Charter Branches will appear on treecharter.uk in 2018. To register to join the network now, please complete and return this form to firstname.lastname@example.org.