Volunteers needed for new charter for trees

Beccy Speight, CEO The Woodland Trust, interacts with an 8x6m 3D artwork created by The Woodland Trust on London's South Bank to announce a call for a new UK Charter for Trees, Woods and People, which will be led by the Woodland Trust and?supported by 47 other organisations. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 13, 2016. The charter will launch in November 2017, 800 years since Henry III signed the original Charter of the Forests. Photo credit: Matt Alexander/PA Wire SUS-160122-100350001
Beccy Speight, CEO The Woodland Trust, interacts with an 8x6m 3D artwork created by The Woodland Trust on London's South Bank to announce a call for a new UK Charter for Trees, Woods and People, which will be led by the Woodland Trust and?supported by 47 other organisations. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 13, 2016. The charter will launch in November 2017, 800 years since Henry III signed the original Charter of the Forests. Photo credit: Matt Alexander/PA Wire SUS-160122-100350001

The Woodland Trust is leading the call with other organisations for the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People.

The charter is being supported by 48 different organisations across the UK, including the RHS, the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the National Trust.

In addition, the Woodland Trust are looking for charter champions to work with local communities, so that everyone in the UK can play a part in this initiative. The charter champions will lead local initiatives and events, and the Woodland Trust can help the Charter Champions with orientation days and funding.

The Charter urgently needs volunteers to become Charter Champions in the Haywards Heath area. This could be an individual person or a local group, club, council or committee. If you think you can help, or want to know more there is a dedicated website, along with a programme of events, blogs and calls to action throughout 2016.

Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust CEO said: “Our collective ambition is for a charter that puts trees back at the heart of our lives, communities and decision making -where they belong. The charter will provide guidance and inspiration to allow us all to appreciate, preserve and celebrate our trees and woods for what they do for us in so many different ways. Inspired by something that happened 800 years ago, there is no better time than now to shine the spotlight again on the benefits that trees and woods bring to us all today and to future generations.”

In 1217 (two years after Magna Carta), King Henry III signed a document known as the ‘Charter of the Forest’. The plan is to produce a new Charter to reflect modern times but at the same time to carry forward the principles from all those years ago when everyone relied on trees in very different ways; for example for grazing their animals or collecting wood to cook their food.

During 2016 the Woodland Trust is asking local people to think about how forests are important to them and to share their stories, reflections and views. For example a memory that wouldn’t have been the same without the trees in Blunts Wood or Paige’s Wood. Then looking to the future with thoughts on what role communities want trees to play in their lives.

In November 2017, 800 years after the original charter was produced, this information will be used as a basis for the brand-new Charter for Trees.

Find out more about the Charter at: https://treecharter.uk/

To find out more about Charter Champions: https://treecharter.uk/you-and-your-community/

The original charter said that the interests of ordinary folks supersede the interests of those from landowners (even royalty!). We need to understand that we are stewards of the forests; no one owns a forest we just use it for a period of time. This will be the first step towards consensus interest in shared resources.

Trees and woods are hugely valuable for our health, happiness and our children’s development. Only 51% of children achieve the recommended hour of physical activity each day (girls just 38%, compared with 62% for boys)1, and research shows that just having trees close to residential areas encourages increased outdoor exercise3. Other research highlighted that asthma rates in children fell by 25% for every additional 343 trees per square kilometre2in their local area.

The lady in the photo is Beccy Speight. This is our ‘wandering tree’ which is a 3D artwork, which we took the London’s Southbank. Picture courtsey of Matt Alexander/PA WIRE.

Report contributed by The Woodland Trust.