After celebrating International Day of Forests, our staff tell us about their favourite trees and green spaces
Date Created: 24th Mar 2022
We’ve all noticed and been enjoying this glorious warm spring sunshine, and hoping it will last! Spring is the time for new life within nature, from lambs, kids and chicks being born to flowers and saplings shooting up out of the earth; and giving us a sense of renewal and rebirth. Within this season, we’ve just celebrated International Day of Forests, which is all about protecting and valuing the trees that already exist as well as planting new ones, and most importantly – fighting against deforestation. This is something we’re passionate about at Artswork, and we’re demonstrating this through our exciting new environmental project. It’s something we feel at an individual level too, and former Kickstart ‘reporter’ Grace has compiled this blog, which includes some of our Staff’s favourite trees, and what they wanted to say about them.
I’ve always felt so much calmer when surrounded by nature. There’s a great degree of comfort that comes from the peace, quiet, and purity that you feel when it’s just you and the trees, flowers and creatures that inhabit them. Growing up in Portsmouth (the most densely populated city outside London), finding green spaces amongst the concrete, pollution and noise was something my Mum did for us since I can remember. When we’d walk home from school, we’d take a detour and walk through a local park or two. In the summer, I’d sometimes even be met at the school gates by a picnic, and we’d spend a couple of hours eating and watching the wildlife. Finding an unblemished, natural green space became so much more important for us during the lockdowns of the past two years, and the once a day we were allowed to go outside and exercise was more precious than we could have predicted. I’ve certainly rarely enjoyed walking as much as I did then! One of my favourite green spaces in the South is Staunton Country Park in Havant. When walking through this vast 1,000-acre space, it’s hard to believe it’s so close to urban life.
Above images: Left – Beaulieu Gardens in the New Forest. Right – Staunton Country Park, Havant.
Louise Govier, our CEO contributes:
“This is my favourite tree, which is the Great Plane Tree at Mottisfont, the National Trust property where I worked for 10 years. This vast tree is around 350 years old – what always amazes me is what it’s seen, the history it’s lived through! it is a huge and comforting presence, still providing beautiful cool shade in hot summers and sucking up pollution from the air. It is, as all old trees do, gradually extending its branches downwards towards the ground – but it has also sprung up in some other spurs nearby, so it will live on even when its central core dies. I loved seeing it every day, in all seasons, and watching its annual renewal, particularly the new spring leaves which bring such hope!”
Communications Assistant Harry muses about the tree outside his new flat:
“I like it as it’s the first thing you notice when you look out of the window from our flat. As we moved in in December it’s been bare the whole time we’ve been here but I’m looking forward to it blossoming and adding some colour to our view.”
Abi, our Communications Manager contributed:
“The tree-lined paths of Southampton Common were a great place to take daily walks during the very depths of lockdown. I particularly like how someone artistic has added a little surprise to the trunk of this one!”
One of our new Kickstarters, Publicity Assistant Sophie is getting into home-growing:
“I’m currently growing some small lemon trees in my living room at the minute which I think ties in beautifully with it being International Day of Forests, as I’m planning on planting them in my garden to help fight climate change. Every little thing helps! Surrounding yourself with nature, especially as a remote worker is amazing beneficial for your health and happiness.”
Contracts and Policy Manager Donna is also passionate about sustainability and conservation, saying:
“I love this tree because it’s ancient roots remind me of the vast network that reaches beyond what is visible. This life-giving system works in partnership with mycorrhizal fungi to enable a symbiotic exchange of nutrients and information between a matrix of living things. It reminds us that connection and interaction is the foundation of biodiversity.”
Lisa, our Communications Officer is also a big lover of nature, bees and trees, and works from home:
“I’m a bit ‘stumped’ for trees near me, but there’s this big one I can see from my balcony that I like. Being surrounded by rows of buildings, it’s refreshing to see such a tall, green tree in the middle of all that grey space.”
Not only are forests pleasing to look at and are therapeutic to body and soul, but they’re also essential to the survival and health of our planet. The main benefit we usually think of first is the provision of oxygen (expelled after the tree takes in carbon dioxide then converts it through different types of energy – photosynthesis.) But that’s just for starters. To keep our ecosystem thriving and the circle of life going, trees are needed to provide essential nutrients, habitats and sanctuary to everything in the chain. As 80% of Earth’s land animals and plants inhabit forests, there‘s potential for devastation, particularly for orangutans and Sumatran tigers, who are at risk of extinction. It’s also critical to preserve Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Chichester Harbour and the Isle of Wight locally), and the unique biospheres that are found the world over. Often, the latter are situated in places where Indigenous and Native peoples live, and these communities rely on the preservation of their environment and the food it provides to survive (250 million people are currently in forest and savannah areas.) It’s vital that we halt this destruction before it’s too late.
We hope we’ve inspired you to take another look at whatever greenery, however small, is near you, and to visualise it as part of the bigger picture. It would be great to see your snaps on social media, just add the #Artsworksupportstrees hashtag so we can find them. This all ties in with Our Environmental Journey, which we’re posting about regularly and continuing to conduct more research for. Keep an eye out because there’s lots more to come!