Free trees scheme is a great way to nudge people to think more about nature

The Welsh government announced last week that every household in Wales will be offered a free tree to plant. More than one million trees will be made available, with people having a choice of either planting a tree in their garden or having a tree added to woodland on their behalf by Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales. This is an imaginative scheme that raises awareness of the importance of nature and the environment and encourages us to think about how we can play our part in living more sustainably.

The work of the Woodland Trust involves:

  • planting woods and trees to combat climate change, build a greener future for the UK and create havens for wildlife
  • bringing damaged ancient woods back to life and restoring these irreplaceable ecosystems so wildlife can thrive once again
  • saving woods and trees from decimation caused by needless destruction, tree pests and diseases
  • caring for over 1,000 woods, keeping them open for public use and inspiring a love for woods and trees

The Woodland Trust is currently running two huge projects:

  • The Queen’s Green Canopy – marking the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II by creating “a green legacy”
  • The Big Climate Fightback – an initiative to get the UK involved in planting 50 million trees

The Woodland Trust website includes lots of useful information and advice for people who want to plant trees. The trust also runs a free trees scheme for schools and community groups.

Trees help to combat the climate crisis. They lock up carbon, fight flooding and cool our cities.

Climate change is only half the battle. We are also facing a biodiversity crisis. The UK is ecologically damaged; we’ve lost 13% of our native species abundance since 1970 and this will only get worse if things go on unchanged.

By restoring precious habitats and planting new native woodland with UK-grown trees, we extend and create havens for wildlife, boosting biodiversity. This goes hand in hand with our planting to mitigate climate change.

from the Woodland Trust website

The Woodland Trust website itself is a model of clarity, ideal for use as a learning resource with children. It also features excellent blogs, including this latest one on outdoor Christmas activities for families.

Last week we wrote about groundbreaking research carried out by Forest Research, who have found a method for putting a value on the mental health benefits associated with the UK’s woodlands: their headline figure is £185 million per year.

We highlighted the Queen’s Canopy initiative in our blog on the Woodland Trust’s major report, State of the World’s Trees, which warned that, of the globe’s 60,000 tree species, 17,500 are currently at risk of extinction. “That means there are twice the number of threatened tree species globally than threatened mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles combined.” The biggest threats to trees globally are forest clearance for crops (impacting 29% of tree species), logging (27%), clearance for livestock grazing or farming (14%), clearance for development (13%) and fire (13%).

We blog regularly about the mental health benefits of getting out and about and enjoying nature and the environment. In our blog Getting involved with nature is a great way to deal with eco-anxiety, we talked about encouraging and empowering people — individuals, schools, communities — to take practical action to make a difference and bring about change.

It is a crucial step to making things better, an acknowledgement that solutions cannot just be left to distant and abstract actors on the world stage like sovereign governments and the United Nations. It is also a way to tackle mental health conditions like eco-anxiety that thrive on feelings of helplessness and disempowerment.

from our blog Getting involved with nature is a great way to deal with eco-anxiety

More About Nature and the Environment

Image at the head of this article by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay.

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