Trees provide a really important refuge for birds, especially in towns. Listen to the starlings getting ready to roost here in this isolated tree, just such a great sound of nature thriving in a tiny green space.
Out of the Woods and into the Town
During the Out of the Wood exhibition there were two events to talk about trees. The first was a party, tour round the gallery and talks by the artists and a chance to gather tree stories for the Woodland Trust's Tree charter campaign https://treecharter.uk/. The second was an evening of talks and discussion about trees in the town, aiming at professionals in the field, developers, people responsible for planning the environment and tree planting in the town of King's Lynn. At the event we resolved to work together some more and this has now led to further thinking and planning. One of the interim results is the campaign outlined here.
Trees and environment
Trees are vulnerable. Within recent memory, forests in public ownership in the UK were threatened by a government keen to sell them off. This is one reason why the Woodland Trust is aiming to commemorate the original forest charter of 1217 with a new mission to protect trees, gathering support and stories towards a new charter for trees, woods and people by November 2017. GroundWork Gallery is one of more than a hundred national Charter Champions for this campaign. www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
Trees in the town
GroundWork has promoted this as a project for King's Lynn since its 'Out of the Wood' exhibition in 2016. The Gallery is working with the Civic Society and the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk to confirm a new tree strategy, and to promote more tree planting. The aim is to have a succession of new trees in place by November 2017, when the new Tree Charter will come into force, and also to promote the increase in tree planting for each new building development.
The town of King's Lynn is short of trees. Partly this is because of its history as a port. Many of the merchants, whose houses adjoined the river dug tunnels to their properties for ease of unloading goods. Under Tuesday Market Place there is a network of subterranean air raid shelters. So in these cases, tree roots would disturb their structures. However, we have also lost trees from the town centre – where denser development and the need for wider streets and parking areas have meant that trees have been forgotten. For all kinds of reasons, from their benefits for shade, drainage, health and beauty, more trees are necessary.
In order to plan and justify a future for trees in the town, here follows a summary of the benefits of trees, informed, among others by George Ishmael, former landscape officer for Norwich and Richard Morrish of the local Civic Society.
Trees are incredibly beneficial in urban areas.
Trees will become an increasingly essential aspect of urban design as hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters are predicted to become the norm..
Studies show that trees absorb large amounts of potentially poisonous atmospheric gases Trees have been described as the lungs of the earth. They release oxygen into the atmosphere, replacing that which is lost through the burning of fossil fuels. They also filter dust from the air – greatly enhancing the air we breathe in our towns and cities.
Right tree, right place
The rustling of leaves in the breeze, the dappled shade and movement in sun and wind, the chirping of birds as they perch and nest - these are some of the pleasures of trees, all the more precious in an urban environment, otherwise dominated by buildings, traffic and crowds.Many studies show these are benefits conducive to human health as well as important for biodiversity.
Trees for the town
For King's Lynn, our immediate goal is to plant trees within the town centre – but we also want to identify opportunities for trees in new developments throughout the town, at important gateways and roads into the town – and even the setting around the town as well.
We are looking at opportunities for trees on both public and private land.
In particular, we would like to seek public/private partnerships where we might be able to share the cost of planting and maintaining a tree – or several trees!
Join the campaign
· Do you have a space for a tree, or know of a space where a tree could grow and benefit the local setting?
· Would you be willing to donate funds or assistance to get a tree planted or to help manage a tree in future?
King’s Lynn Civic Society have joined together with the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk (BCKLWN) and Groundwork Art Gallery to start a new tree planting initiative in King’s Lynn.
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