International Tree Foundation’s Annual Event, entitled “Justified and Ancient: The Value of Trees in Cities“, will bring together speakers from diverse backgrounds to discuss the role of trees in urban areas and how to protect them.
Sheffield City Council’s decision to remove half of the city’s 35,000 trees has been met with shock and anger. The response by thousands of local people has shown just how much Sheffield’s trees are valued and loved. While the project is currently on hold, it has caused controversy at a national as well as local level and highlighted people’s attachment to urban trees.
ITF’s Annual Event will ask how we can ensure decision makers appreciate the importance of trees – especially ancient trees – for the well-being of communities, wildlife and the environment in urban landscapes?
Like their partner organisation The Tree Conference did in Somerset last year, the International Tree Foundation will welcome speakers from a range of organisations for an open discussion of how trees – particularly ancient trees – improve quality of life in cities and are valuable in their own right, and how communities can be supported to protect and advocate for their trees. The event is free to attend, with drinks and networking from 4pm – 5pm.
Ted Green is a regular broadcaster, writer and speaker at international conferences on ancient trees and fungi. He is a founder member and President of the Ancient Tree Forum and Honorary Vice President of the International Tree Foundation. He was awarded an MBE in recognition for his work in conservation, specialising in trees and fungi. He has received many other awards, including the Arboricultural Association Annual Award and The Royal Forestry Society Gold Medal for his distinguished services to forestry. Ted is an Honorary Lecturer at Imperial College, London and is Conservation Consultant to the Crown Estate at Windsor.
Alison Teal is a Green Party Councillor who was elected to the ward of Nether Edge and Sharrow on Sheffield City Council in May 2016, and was re-elected to serve a further four years in May 2018. Alison has been an active member of Save Nether Edge Trees since 2015 and has spent countless hours defending trees on the streets. She has been arrested for sitting under a tree, and later the charges were dropped. Alison was taken by the Council to the High Court, and has an injunction against her from entering barriers surrounding a tree to be felled. In September last year she was alleged to have broken the injunction and was threatened with committal to prison, all for trying to protect healthy street trees. The case was dismissed.
Fran Halsall spent a decade working as a landscape photographer, writer and tutor before completing an MA in landscape architecture at the University of Sheffield. She is a vocal advocate for urban trees and uses her role as editor of the Save Sheffield Trees website to promote better understanding of what trees do for us. Fran has a communications role with Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) which includes educational outreach. Fran is a founder member of the Sheffield Woodland Connections project created to support the aims of the Woodland Trust’s Tree Charter. The group has run a series of free ‘interpretive’ walks around Ecclesall Woods, the largest ancient woodland in South Yorkshire, exploring the magic and complexity of this irreplaceable habitat. Fran has also had an advisory role in the orchard planting at the Sheffield Foyer as part of the Fruit-full Communities project in partnership with ITF.
Sue Pitt joined ITF in March 2016. Based in Sheffield, she has responsibility for delivering ITF’s contribution to the Fruit-full Communities Project which is now in its third year. This project works with young people who have experienced homelessness and encourages them to design and plant an orchard as part of their journey of recovery from the difficulties they are experiencing in their lives. Sue has many years’ experience of teaching and supporting young people in a variety of educational contexts and is a qualified coach/mentor. Sue is particularly interested in how planting and growing can promote confidence, health and wellbeing as well as providing economically and environmentally sustainable futures for communities. She has recently completed a course on ‘Social Forestry’ at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales and is keen to apply this new understanding to her future work with people and trees.
“Involvement in an ‘unequal’ struggle, day in and day out, takes its toll. STARTS, our tree art project, came out of a need to address this. What began as a few friends meeting on a street corner to paint a picture of a much loved, threatened street tree has blossomed into a project which has attracted hundreds of people and encouraged them to spend time appreciating trees, creating artwork , making friends and raising awareness of the importance of our green environment to health and wellbeing. I look forward to sharing the story, talking about the unforeseen benefits of the project, and hopefully encouraging others to take up their paint brushes for the trees and themselves.”