Cambridge celebrates Tree Charter Day and National Tree Week
By Dr Matthew Ling, project lead, Cambridge Canopy Project
This Saturday (November 28) is Tree Charter Day, a chance to celebrate the value and importance of trees and woods to people.
The day also marks the start of National Tree Week, when the Cambridge Canopy Project, which is growing the number of trees in the city, will be making several announcements.
Already the project, which was set up by the city council in recognition of the importance of trees and open spaces, has been collaborating with arts and well-being charity Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination (CCI) and local artist Hilary Cox Condron to create a gallery of pop-up ‘Forests of Imagination'.
Created by friends, colleagues, and other tree advocates from across Greater Cambridge, each contributor took a fantastical tree or creature, created by CCI’s ‘ArtScapers’ project, to their favourite tree or location to photograph it and shared this back with their story, poem, or even a dance, of how trees inspire them or how they connect to them.
ArtScapers from Mayfield Primary School and Girton Primary School, with CCI artist Caroline Wendling, created these fantastical trees or creatures by taking inspiration from the trees of Murray Edwards College and Girton College.
The designs were then printed onto fabric to hang from trees.
Originally the fabric hangings were commissioned by the Cambridge Youth Opera to use as stage decorations for their production of Hansel and Gretel. Sadly, due to the coronavirus lockdown, this had to be cancelled. However, artist Sally Todd was able to display the hangings back in the college gardens that inspired their creation and made a short film of this in the summer.
You can view the film on this page.
The gallery of these pop-up ‘Forests of Imagination’ and the accompanying stories is available to view here.
As well as setting up the Cambridge Canopy Project, the city council recently committed to upholding the 10 principles of the Tree Charter.
The charter, was launched in Lincoln Castle on November 6, 2017, marking 800 years to the day of the signing of the 1217 Charter of the Forest. The launch came as a direct response to a call for action from the Woodland Trust in 2015, in light of what they identified as a ‘crisis facing trees and woods in the UK’.
Since 2017, the last Saturday of November is now marked as Tree Charter Day. This gives us a day to celebrate the value and importance of trees and woods to people throughout the UK. This special day also marks the start of ‘National Tree Week’, which runs until December 6.
You can read more about the Tree Charter and its 10 principles here.
If you want to sign the Tree Charter and add your support to upholding its principles, you can do so here.
To hear the announcements from the Cambridge Canopy Project, follow them on Twitter @CamCanopyProj.