“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now!”

Each year in November, communities across the UK take the opportunity to celebrate National Tree Week by coming together to take positive environmental action. This year to mark the occasion, local social enterprise, Roots for the Future invites you to get involved in their tree planting events.

Roots for the Future brings people together in their communities to plant trees to tackle local environmental problems, such as flooding and poor air quality. Our workshops enable people to do something to benefit their local environment as well as for the good of humanity. Planting trees in groups is a great way to make connections. We have found that when people get their hands dirty together to plant, relationships grow alongside the trees. Have a look on our website for community tree planting workshops taking place in and around Godalming.

We are also looking for local businesses to partner with. We recently collaborated with Honey Brothers who provided us with land to plant on. They also kindly subsidised our forest school workshop so that participants only needed to make a small donation to take part. Honey Brothers have been providing tree surgery, forestry and landscaping industries with products for over 60 years. They provide goods to commercial and domestic clients, and support the local area through social projects and employment schemes.  Roots for the Future plants trees that future generations of tree surgeons will be looking after, so it has been a logical partnership.

With so much need in the South-East for new housing, it is inevitable that green space will increasingly become occupied by development. It is important for tree planting to be an essential requirement of development, not just a nice-to-have. We are reaching out to developers of affordable and social housing to work with us on involving people in the shaping and planting of the green spaces in and around new developments. We are looking for corporate partners who are interested in sustainability, responsibility and offsetting their carbon footprints at a local level by supporting our tree planting workshops.

There are so many reasons to support tree planting. As we all learn in school, they give us the oxygen we breathe and it is well known that they absorb and store the carbon emitted from vehicles and industrial activity.  They also mitigate other climate change related issues, such as flooding – water sinks into soil under trees at 70 times the rate it sinks under grass. Most people will remember the terrible floods at Christmas time in 2013. And with so much on the news lately about our poor air quality, it is important to note that trees absorb pollution and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

There are multiple social benefits too. Green spaces make us feel better and more resilient to stress. Studies show that when people are recovering in hospital, if they can see a tree outside their window, they get better more quickly than those who can’t. In addition it is reported that trees cut crime and anti-social activity.

We invite all ages to plant with us and envisage the children who take part in our forest school workshops will be inspired find natural solutions to climate change when they become our community leaders. This year National Tree Week will be from the 25th November – 3rd December. Check out our website for ways to get involved with Roots for the Future.

This article was first published in Round and About magazine Godalming and Cranleigh November 2017 edition.