“I admire all people that love trees”: the UK’s first Tree Champion Sir William Worsley on National Tree Week and the hidden heroes planting trees around the country
Britain’s recently appointed Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley, has marked his preparations for this month’s National Tree Week by paying tribute to the thousands of dedicated and expert Tree Wardens around the country who work behind the scenes as unpaid volunteers all year round.
With the six-month point of his tenure as the country’s first Tree Champion fast approaching, Sir William Worsley calls National Tree Week “an important part of my year” and has highlighted the work of the 6,000 volunteer Tree Wardens that promote and protect the trees in their local community, under a scheme managed by The Tree Council. This year, The Tree Council are taking the opportunity to thank these volunteers for their tireless work, which according to Sir William represents “a vital resource”.
Throughout National Tree Week, which runs from Saturday 24 November to Sunday 2 December, the country’s Tree Wardens will be busy planting trees in their local communities, encouraging schools and other groups to get involved, and will be ensuring the future care of newly planted trees.
Sara Lom, CEO of The Tree Council, said: “National Tree Week will see charities, professionals, schools and our volunteer Tree Warden groups across the UK supporting the initiative and bringing their communities together to do something positive in their neighbourhood. Trees are rooted in history and offer hope for the future. They strengthen communities, provide homes for wildlife and contribute to our health and wellbeing. That’s why it’s so vital for everyone to keep planting and caring for trees, and our volunteer Tree Wardens are the hidden heroes, getting people together to plant and care for trees around the country.” The Tree Council is currently seeking to grow the number of Tree Wardens nationwide.
Sir William sees National Tree Week as “an opportunity to engage people in planting trees.” The Tree Wardens “play a huge role in getting people engaged in trees, particularly in urban areas,” he adds.
Sir William is calling everyone to get involved in National Tree Week as a way that individuals and communities can support the UK’s natural habitat and the wider environment. “It’s important that people understand about trees and feel inspired to look after them.”
Sir William encouraged members of the younger generation in particular to become more involved in supporting trees. “Young people understand about the issues of climate change and this is one of the ways they can actually do something. By planting a tree, you genuinely can do something. It may be only small, but it is actually something practical.” The importance of planting trees has been emphasised by the latest Committee on Climate Change report calling on the UK to double tree planting efforts to help tackle climate change.
Sir William, who has urged that trees must be at the heart of the government’s environmental vision for the future, added: “I would encourage all people to work closely with The Tree Council right across the sector. I think there are a huge number of people out there trying to get involved with trees and forests, and I think The Tree Council has a really important leadership role to play in bringing organisations together.”
Beyond National Tree Week, Sir William is encouraging people to remain involved with trees around the country. “I would definitely encourage more people to become Tree Wardens,” Sir William said. “I admire the Tree Wardens. I admire all people that love trees.”