Trees for All

Authored by Sarah Bell

I recently chatted to Matt Larsen-Daw at the Woodland Trust about their new inspirational Charter for Trees, Woods and People; an initiative aiming to create a future in which trees and people stand stronger together.
The Charter, which will be launched on 6th November 2017, has been developed in collaboration with over 70 organisations from many different sectors. It sets out how people and trees can best co-exist and benefit each other and hopes to influence policy and practice in the UK.
Importantly, a tree will be planted to mark every name added to the Charter over the next few months, be it via an online signature or in person at one of a number of events being organised by the Woodland Trust around the UK.
In a recent blog post, writer and photographer Tanvir Bush, who also has retinitis pigmentosa, reflects on the importance of blind and partially sighted people adding their voices to help shape the future for trees and woods in the UK.
She argues that creating inclusive opportunities to experience nature – regardless of one’s sensory or physical needs – must be an obvious part of any Tree Charter that seeks to influence and enhance the health and wellbeing of our society, not least to ‘create value and a more equal community of tree lovers’.
We’re hoping the Sensing Nature project will be able to contribute useful insights to the Charter and its implementation, helping in its goal to understand and use the natural health benefits of trees, and promote meaningful access to trees for everyone.

The Charter consists of ten principles, each dealing with a different aspect of the relationship between people and trees in modern society. The principles have been defined by more than 50,000 stories and survey responses received from the public since the launch of the campaign by the Woodland Trust in January 2016. 
The ten principles include: 

  1. Thriving habitats for diverse species
  2. Planting for the future
  3. Celebrating the cultural impact of trees
  4. A thriving forestry sector that delivers for the UK
  5. Better protection for important trees and woods
  6. Enhancing new developments with trees
  7. Understanding and using the natural health benefits of trees
  8. Access to trees for everyone
  9. Addressing threats to woods and trees through good management
  10. Strengthening landscapes with woods and trees

More information on the Charter for Trees can be found here