Eco Comment – National Tree Week: It’s time to Grow a Tree in 23

30 November 2023

This year is special because it marks the 50th anniversary of the famous ‘Plant a Tree in 73’ campaign from which the National Tree Week (and The Tree Council) was born. Everyone is invited to take part and join families and friends in activities which range from finding mistletoe to having a tree party. You could even, if the alternatives were not possible, just find a favourite tree and give it a hug to say thank you for all its life-giving benefits!

It’s possible to send off for lots of different resources which range from ‘The Young Tree Growers Guide’ through to ‘Watch: Trees and Fungi Working Together’, ‘Selecting, planting and taking care of apple and pear trees’ and ‘Drought and Tree Care’. (

What I found fascinating was the number of organisations that are partnering with the Tree Council: Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission, Action Oak, The National Forest, Natural England, Trees for Cities, Kew – Royal Botanical Gardens, RHS, RSPB, National Trust, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, The Conservation Volunteers, Ancient Tree Forum, Arboricultural Association –, The Countryside Charity, Institute of Chartered Foresters, International Tree Foundation, Learning through Landscapes, Life for a Life – Memorial Forests and London Wildlife Trust. Who knew there were so many? The variety of these groups also give an indication of how important trees are to our environment and wildlife.

On looking further into the Tree Council website, it becomes clear that they are setting out to bring ‘everyone together with a shared mission to care for trees and our planet’s future’. They ‘inspire and empower organisations, governments, communities and individuals with the knowledge and tools to create positive, lasting change at a national and local level’.

Possibly their most important partnerships for the future are with the science and research community who are working to understand the nature of the UK’s local tree strategies and improve the way we care for our UK treescape. This is mirrored in other areas of the tree world.

The autumn edition of Broadleaf, the magazine from the Woodland Trust, has a featured article: ‘The Living Laboratory’ by Elizabeth Garton is about how, in amongst other places in the UK, Wensleydale is part of a new ‘cutting edge’ scientific testing ground for teams from Leeds and York Universities studying how landscape changes affect carbon stores. At the same time, down in Kew Gardens (autumn/winter issue of Kew Magazine), where two thirds of the Arboretum is at risk as London adjusts to a hotter climate, the head of tree collections Kevin Martin is completing a master’s degree in looking at the resilience of trees for future UK climates.

Now is the time to take advantage of these sort of events and to get our children and young people interested in trees and the surrounding flora, fauna and wildlife. There are many job opportunities out there for those who like the great outdoors alongside giving us all opportunities to learn and participate in looking after both our heritage and future health.

Susan Morgan
Eco Group

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