Championing Local Trees

Championing local trees

Mayor celebrates anniversary

Havant Tree Warden Paul Diaper was given a grilling by budding reporters from Hart Plain Junior School during a mayoral tree planting. The Mayor, Councillor Yvonne Weeks, helped to mark 20 years of Tree Wardening by planting a large oak tree in the school grounds.
Paul, a Tree Warden for Waterlooville, initiated the event. He and the mayor are pictured here at the tree planting, being interviewed by school reporters Rhys Hanscombe and Ella Shaw. Havant Tree Wardens have planted over 1,200 trees in the last year and raised £7,000 to support the scheme in the borough.

Remarkable trees in print

St Albans Tree Warden Kate Bretherton has brought out a book that tells the fascinating stories behind her local trees – and it’s doing wonders to heighten awareness and appreciation. Kate, one of 40 Tree Wardens in the network, published The Remarkable Trees of St Albans during National Tree Week. The book’s 244 pages of text and photographs by Donato Cinicolo highlight the favourite trees flagged up by Tree Wardens and other local residents – how they came to be there, and what can be done to ensure there are remarkable trees for future generations.

She was inspired to write the book by forester Paul Arnold, who went to work in St Albans City Parks Department in the 1970s. “When he told me about the trees he had planted for their historical connections, I wanted everyone interested in St Albans now and in the future to know about them – and that is how this book came to be written,” Kate explained. “However the project has widened to include trees in our parks and streets, surrounding villages and countryside, people’s specific favourites and some issues to do with trees.”

Kate has had the feedback she hoped for, such as:
•    “It made me want to rush out and find all the trees you included.”
•    “There are so many trees I have passed by over the years without realising their significance to the local landscape, still less the reason they were planted or why a particular species was chosen.”
•    “It has made me see the city I have lived in for most of my adult life in a new way.”
•    “An excellent initiative and well worth emulating elsewhere.”

She is taking advantage of this enthusiasm by giving talks – a further opportunity to bring trees and tree issues into focus. The book is on sale for £14.95 from local and internet booksellers, and is available direct from Kate via her website at £12.00 (+£3 postage or packing unless buyers live in St Albans District, in which case it’s free delivery through your door).

MP praises volunteers

Surrey Tree Wardens got a pat on the back from a local MP as examples of the ‘big society’ already in action.  In a letter to the Surrey Herald, Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The government is committed to building a 'big society'. The concept is positive: it means making Britain better by creating a wider culture of responsibility and participation in society, and redistributing power to individuals and communities.
 “A series of articles in last week's Herald & News showed these ideas already have a tradition locally and are burgeoning.
 One article celebrated the national success enjoyed by the Stanwell Community Project. Others detailed the work being done by the Community First responder team and voluntary Tree Warden scheme in Spelthorne. These are great achievements and activities. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all those involved, and encourage more residents to take part.”

Tree Wardens bid farewell

York Tree Wardens bid a snowy farewell to a senior figure in the local conservation movement with a morning's hard digging. The volunteers, who play an active part in events run by the City Council's Parks and Open Spaces Team, were helping to plant shrubs and trees in one of York’s main green spaces. Leading his last day with the Tree Wardens was Stephen Whittaker, a senior ranger with the Parks Team, who is recognised as having had a large impact on the development of the city's parks and community involvement.

Cap Fowles, who is chair of York Tree Warden Group, said:  “Stephen was always a great encouragement to the Tree Wardens and we wish him every success in the future.” Stephen, who is leaving the council after seven years to develop a career in internet marketing, said:  “I've enjoyed the practical steps and securing Local Nature Reserve status for local parks. But I would not have been able to do this without community involvement. Our job is working with local green spaces, people and wildlife.” During his tenure the number of Local Nature Reserves increased from one to four, and the Green Flag Award – the national standard for parks in the UK – has been awarded to five of York's green spaces.