So today, after all the noticing, watering, making space, and the other Acts of Tree Kindess, we are calling on you to celebrate trees!
How can you show thanks to a local tree and highlight its presence for others? One way is to create a small sign, artwork or other tree decoration. Consider making your offering from biodegradable materials that won’t harm the tree, or return and remove it before it starts to interfere with the tree’s health. Please also be aware that it is currently bird-nesting season and any artwork or hangings will need to be attached in such a way that they don’t scare birds from their nests.
As part of its One Ash project, Andover Trees United enabled schoolchildren to visit and give thanks to an Ash Tree on a forestry plantation before it was felled for timber. The children worked with artist James Aldridge to create simple thank you cards and with the ATU Education Officer Becky McGugan, to measure the tree, consider the benefits of sustainable forestry, and the wider ecosystem that the trees support.
As well as the thank you cards that used writing, drawing, printing and rubbings, one boy chose to draw on a stone and leave it at the base of the tree.
You may also be interested in taking part in Tree Dressing Day (December 1st) later in the year, when the lockdown will hopefully have eased and larger gatherings of people are possible again. The Common Ground organisation set up Tree Dressing Day in 1990 as a way of encouraging people to celebrate the place of trees in their local community:
‘Trees have long been celebrated for their spiritual significance. The simplicity of tying strips of cloth or yarn to a tree is universal and timeless. The old Celtic custom of tying cloth dipped in water from a holy well to a ‘clootie tree’ echoes the practice in Japan of decorating trees with strips of white paper, or tanzaku, bearing wishes and poems. The twenty-first century trend of ‘yarn bombing’ in Europe and North America transforms the local landscape with bright fabrics and yarns, like the Buddhist tradition of tying ribbons around the trunk of the Bodhi tree in homage to Buddha, or the annual Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan when coloured strings are tied onto trees and plants to call upon the power of nature to protect loved ones.’
What other ways could you think of to give thanks to trees for all they do for us? For more ideas see The Woodland Trust’s free Street Trees Celebration Kit available to download from their website.
The Green Ladies of Beech Tree Hill
Before you go, please take a few minutes to listen to this story, read by British Storyteller Rebecca Leach McDonald. The Green Ladies of Beech Tree Hill is a traditional English Folktale:
As you listen to the story, imagine what offerings you could make to your local trees. You might make a primrose posy like in the story, or you might write a letter or make a picture, you might take a jug of water when it is dry, or you might offer a gift of leaves or stones.
As always please do record your Acts of Tree Kindness with a photograph and share it with us using the #ActsOfTreeKindness hashtag.