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A tree-mendous project: get involved with the Tree Charter

Get involved with the Students for Trees project and support the trees of the UK.

There are currently three student branches that have formed this year with a fourth one on the way in Portsmouth. These are student led groups who care and want to protect the trees of the UK. These branches are supported by the tree council who share tools, guidance and advice on how to run activities to build footfall and support for their groups. Lancaster University Students’ Union joined up with Students for Trees and hosted a full week of events, including a tree planting event, woodland walk and leaf printing workshop. Portsmouth University Eco Society held a woodland walk and baked leaf-shaped cookies for everyone who attended. Keele University students also held several events across Tree Week including a woodland walk, a talk with the caretaker of Keele Woodlands and an online competition. Arts Bournemouth University Students’ Union also ran a leaf printing workshop to get people engaged in Tree Charter Day and to show how trees inspire us each and every day.

What is Students for Trees?

To begin with, Students for Trees is a project led by NUS and the Woodland Trust over the next three years to protect, enhance and celebrate woods and trees on our campuses and/or around colleges and universities. The project was set up to see a change in attitudes towards trees and woods in the local environment; to encourage students to learn about the heritage value of woods and trees; and to support students to actively protect trees, provide resources for student-led projects and inspire students to run activities to celebrate their local trees.

The Charter for Woods, Trees and People

The Charter was launched in November 2017 on the 800th anniversary of the influential 1217 Charter of the Forest. The Tree Charter redefines the relationship between people and trees for the 21st century. It offers guidance and inspiration that will help to shift policy, practice and attitudes so people and trees can be stronger together—from local and national government, to businesses and communities and across the homes and neighbourhoods of the UK.

From now on, the way we think about trees, what we do to defend and care for them and how we choose to use and include them in our lives is what will make the charter’s vision a reality. The Tree Charter’s strength will come from those who sign in support, follow the 10 principles and spread the message and vision of the charter. By joining the movement, you can ensure we all exercise our rights to the benefits that trees and woods provide while taking responsibility for their safe and healthy future. That is the mission of the Students for Trees project;' we are seeking students to create branches of the Tree Charter to embed the principles and celebrate trees as they are highly important to us'.

What are the principles of the Charter?

1. Sustain landscapes rich in wildlife
2. Plant for the future
3. Celebrate the power of trees to inspire
4. Grow forests of opportunity and innovation
5. Protect irreplaceable trees and woods
6. Plan greener local landscapes
7. Recover health, hope and wellbeing with the help of trees
8. Make trees accessible to all
9. Combat the threats to our habitats
10. Strengthen our landscapes with trees

‘Charter Branches’ are community led groups whose activities raise awareness of the value and benefits of trees and woodland to people and embed the Tree Charter's 10 principles at a grassroots level. They were integral in the development of the Tree Charter; more than 500 branches from across the UK helped to collect the 60,000 stories which formed the charter principles as well as gathered over 100,000 signatures of support leading up to the launch. Now we need students to get involved; to show your appreciation and love for trees sign up to the project via this link Sign up here.

Featured image: Dan Stark on Unsplash