National tree week runs this year from Saturday 26th November to Sunday 4th December.
This annual celebration of trees was set up in 1975 by The Tree Council to get the people of our country thinking about ever-important trees. Set at a time of the year when the planting of trees is most favourable the Tree Council encourage the public, schools and community groups to go out and plant trees, to add to our woodlands and forests throughout the country. Over the years this has built up to over a quarter of a million-people planting over a million trees in the UK. Community groups and schools can access free tree planting packs from the Woodland Trust that are delivered in time for National Tree Week so there isn’t even any cost to this amazing project!
Trees are vital.
They turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, meaning they play a hugely important part in minimising global warming – they are quite literally the lungs of our planet!
They not only provide us with oxygen but are also great for animals, birds and insects who need them for food and homes to live within. A mature English Oak tree is home to over 284 species of insect alone – not counting all the other species that the Oak supports, mammals, birds and fungi.
With lots of trees being cut down all over the world I can see that many people take trees for granted – you might think there’s never a tree far away, but the sad truth is that most places in Europe have many more wooded areas than us here in the UK. Campaigns like National Tree Week mean people are becoming more aware just how important trees are to our existence on this planet.
To celebrate National Tree Week and keeping with the theme ‘Changing Views’ I am leading a Dusk Walk around the Arboretum. Over the seven years I have been Curator at Thorp Perrow Arboretum I have noticed that most people tend to visit at the popular times of the year, to see the blossom and to see the Autumn colours. As humans, our gaze tends to lie in what we see right in front of us, we seldom examine things and we don’t often avert our gaze upwards. There is a whole world of interest when you look up into a trees canopy. Cones, fruits and berries. Different fungus and animal and bird life can be seen too. But what I want to show people is the tree itself!
By starting the walk at 4pm when the light levels are dropping our gaze will naturally turn upwards to where the trees silhouette against the sky. All the leaves will have fallen exposing the trees skeleton. Viewing a tree in this way is completely different, you get to see the trees natural shape and beauty, its form and its backbone against the sky. The stillness and peacefulness of the trees dormant state is quite something and it really gives us a change in views!
Faith Douglas – Curator, Thorp Perrow Arboretum
Thorp Perrow Arboretum Dusk Walk – 30th November from 4pm
Thorp Perrow, Bedale, North Yorkshire. 01677 425323
Photo Credit – Thorp Perrow