Summer Tree Challenge

IMGP2813This summer I’ve set myself a challenge to raise funds for Trees for Life. I’ve been making a walk every day, seeking out a new tree that I find distinctive or intriguing and sharing three photos of each tree here on Flickr. I’ve done 49 days so far. I can’t quite believe how quickly the summer has whizzed by, but I still have a week or so to go.

The main reasons I did it were to get better at photographing trees, to be motivated to walk everyday and above all to inspire people to donate to a tree charity I really admire, Trees for Life.

86,400 acres of forest are destroyed every day, and the extremity of climate change is speeding that up. We can’t survive without forests. Trees for Life are restoring the Caledonian forest in Scotland, in ways that are wild and biodiverse, not as plantations for profit.

As well as supporting this charity, my challenge has had another key outcome. It has further sensitised me to trees as I’ve looked more closely at seeds, at the conditions of their leaves, at symbiotic and parasitic insects and fungi, at the changing colours, at their different states according to dry or wet weather. I want to look and learn even more, and it’s been interesting to reflect on how regular practice of close looking has been both relaxing and motivating me to learn more.

I’m excited to be going on a course in September, led by the founder of Trees for Life, Alan Watson Featherstone. This will be about getting close to nature, looking at the lichens, fungi and insects that live symbiotically around trees. This learning will be combined with some conservation work. This is heavily subsidised by the charity, hence my desire to contribute by fundraising.

So, if you feel strongly about the importance of trees, you could sponsor me! Or you could do your own fundraising challenge, supporting organisations such as Trees for Cities, the Woodland Trust or Rainforest Action Network. You might be interested to support DEFRA’s Observatree project, which will train volunteers and create mobile apps to encourage citizen observers of tree disease.

Here’s a Google doc with a fuller list and useful links. This tree challenge is part of my Beuysterous initiative, supporting trees through creative actions and the inspirations of artists.

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