A One to One with a Tree Warden
Charismatic, enthusiastic and dedicated are a few of the many words that would describe Coventry Tree Warden, Ann Wilson. Her love for trees is rooted in the time when she was very young; her family had a Walnut tree that she and her brother would climb together and enjoy freshly picked nuts. Little did she know that this was a foreshadowing of her future as a dedicated custodian of her local treescape. In this interview, we get a brief insight into her activities as a Tree Warden and the motivating factors that have focused her energy into planting, nurturing and educating people about the importance of trees to the environment.
Ann pictured (third from the left) with the Lord Mayor during a charity event
What activity working as a Tree Warden has been the most rewarding?
Setting up our Tree Warden training programme has been greatly rewarding and we have learned so much. After over a year of monthly sessions, up to 30 people are now involved, mainly from Coventry but also including some from other Midland networks who still attend regularly. As I was leaving a meeting, I heard a comment that caught my attention, and that remark was "I have always loved trees, but now I know why" and that made it all worthwhile.
Describe the "A-Ha" moment that shaped your decision to take action and become a Tree Warden?
Five to six years ago, a group got together to and formed a tree group to share concerns about the loss of big trees and management issues in Coventry. After we had attended a Walsall Tree Council conference, I left inspired by meeting with so many like-minded people and came back thinking that we had to form our network.
Can you recall one of your most interesting projects?
Probably our most interesting projects have involved orchards. We are currently working with local volunteers to try and rescue a very mature orchard that was cut off by a bypass and untouched for about 18 years. It is entirely overgrown with ivy and brambles, but we are hoping to eventually open it on Heritage Days as one of Coventry's historic treasures. We have also enjoyed planting a new orchard and fruiting hedgerow with local school children. We recently went back to Walsall to help them prune the orchard that initially inspired us, and it was a great day working together, followed by wassailing.
What do you love the most about what you do as a Tree Warden?
Meeting kindred spirits and alike minds.