This year, between 23rd November and 1st December, Britain will be holding National Tree Week. This annual event aims to encourage the people of the UK to plant as many new trees as possible.
First introduced in 1975, the initiative began as a response to the devastation left by the Dutch Elm Disease outbreak of the early 1970’s. Such was the deforestation caused by this natural disaster, that mass tree planting was the only answer to the saving many depleted woods and forests across the country. Organised by the Tree Council, National Tree Week is “a great chance for communities to do something positive for their local treescape.”
Scientific research has proved that, as well as providing a home and food for a wide range of wildlife, trees can improve quality of life for humans. Not only do they supply us with food and material for building and crafting, they also provide fuel. The roles trees play in our natural ecosystem is also vital; they can help reduce flooding, clean polluted air and they play an essential role in the fight against the deterioration of the ozone layer.
In addition to their practical applications, it has been proven that spending time amongst trees, whether in woods or forests, or just by walking along tree-lined streets, can make us feel happier. The MuddyFace.co.uk group also reports, ‘Trees are good for business, too. It’s been proven that trees increase property values as well as footfall in shopping or business areas, all of which helps to boost the local economy. The value and contribution of trees is immeasurable, going back to childhood memories such as climbing a favourite tree, admiring the gorgeous autumn colours they bring, or simply being glad they are around us. Whatever the reason, trees are a valuable asset and deserve to be celebrated.’
During National Tree Week, members of the Tree Council work with voluntary groups, local authorities, community groups and schools to get as many people as possible to plant trees in donated areas of land, both public and private. On average, over a quarter of a million people planted around a million trees during this event in 2018.
If you would like to take part in this year’s National Tree Week events, which include a range of activities, from celebrating a favourite local tree to walks, talks and Tree Dressing events, then you can find your local events on the Tree Council’s Near You Map. The link to this can be seen below.
Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.