Growing up in a village in South Cambridgeshire, trees became a crucial connection into the world for me: from the Oak we kids all learnt to climb on, to the huge Elm that was one of the first in the UK to be felled due to disease, trees have anchored me to places and physicality. I spend much time walking in woods, listening, reflecting, trying to see and sense the life and lessons from the woods.
During lockdown, I learnt of nearly a million oak saplings grown by nurseries across the UK that were going to be destroyed due to being surplus to Government annual planting plans. This felt like ‘another’ ecocide in the making, and against the venerable tree that symbolises strength and integrity to us in these Isles. I mobilised a bunch of fellow tree folk across the country, and we’ve set out to rescue some, and inspire others too. We’ve raised over £9,000 and will receive some 30,000 oaks next month to give away to plant across the land! There’s still time to request some via our website: www.savetheoaks.org. Some 6,000 are coming to Cambridgeshire. And some will be heeled-in, in my garden! The banner is shown hanging from both a fruitful old apple tree, and an alder that beautifully arches over the patio and is always inspiring with its entwining limbs and leaves.
I’m delighted about this campaign to encourage children at Mayfield School and at Girton (where I grew up!) to love these beautiful and valuable parts of our precious world. Let’s save them!
By James Murray-White, Film maker, Rewilder
This story is part of a new gallery of images and voices gathered to celebrate Tree Charter Day 2020. You can support the Tree Charter and celebrate Cambridge’s Urban forest by:
Exploring the gallery of trees and voices gathered for this celebration
Signing the Tree Charter
Downloading the Cambridge Canopy Project creative activity pack
Sharing your story with others - #camtrees
Following @CamCanopyProj on Twitter to keep updated on all things ‘Urban Forest’