For today's blog post, we have a special guest post from our friends at Trees for Cities. You Can find more about them below and support their charity (and others) by buying a dedicate a tree pack for sites all across the UK.
Introduction to trees for cities
On the most basic level, Trees for Cities does what it says on the tin; we plant trees in cities. We operate in heavily urbanised cities worldwide, uniting communities and bringing invaluable environmental benefits to those who need it most. Initially known as Trees for London, the charity has developed due to overwhelming demand and our work can now be seen outside of Europe, in South America and Africa.
Studies have shown that people have a greater sense of well-being when surrounded by trees, yet think how many urban areas – even London, one of the so-called greener cities – remain, to quote Alicia Keys, ‘Concrete Jungles’. Dreams may be made here, but not everyone’s fantasy is devoid of greenery. For those of us not fortunate enough to have been blessed with an outrageously good singing voice, reality is the daily grind, made more and more claustrophobic by the ever increasing appearance of lofty skyscrapers. While such edifices are undoubtedly great feats of engineering, each construction further insulates us city dwellers. Part of what we do, at Trees for Cities, is fight the tide of urban landscaping to deliver a certain aesthetic beauty to people too used to grey.
However, we’re not just about making the place look nice. Trees are fundamental to the world’s survival, and without them we would cease to exist. Whether it’s developing edible food projects in local schools or large scale woodland projects, trees improve biodiversity, stimulate habitat development and filter harmful pollutants from vehicle emissions. In this time of economic hardship the fact that the Mayor of London continues to direct funds towards tree planting demonstrates the continued importance of what we’re trying to achieve. For too long trees have been considered a luxury; finally, the reality of their importance is being fully appreciated.
As with most charities, we’re reliant on the donations of people and companies across the country. However, we do try to be proactive, and to give people something back in return for their generosity. Part of this is our annual fund-raising event, the Tree-Athlon. It’s a 5km run, held in the beautiful setting of London’s Battersea Park. Every year hundreds of people take part, but the event is much more than just a jog. For us, it embodies the principles that we stand for, bringing people together to embrace their surroundings, making use of them and, importantly, having fun while doing so.
As well as being an important fund-raising opportunity, we treat the Tree-Athlon as a chance to engage with all our stakeholders – whether it’s Martin from Lambeth or Zoe from News International - promoting our own aims, but also highlighting the huge recreational benefits that are available on people’s doorsteps. We are a generation of screen addicts and with obesity rates continuing to soar it is vital that people reap the rewards that the environment can provide, taking pleasure in exercise and embracing opportunities outside of their homes.
The whole day is a spectacular bonanza of running, music, face-painting and all round fun. Everyone can be involved, whether you’re running or not. This year we’re even trying to break the record for most entrants in a 100m barefoot sprint. Too many organised events take themselves too seriously and miss out on the wonderful opportunity that you’re provided with when such vast sums of people gather together. What we’re trying to convey is that while parks can be used to go running- and taking exercise is a really good thing- they’re also there for so much more. They’re a tool for community involvement, a place to make new friends, a safe place to take your children and they’re vital to the ongoing protection of the environment.
Here at Trees for Cities we really believe in the Tree-Athlon, and we want as many people as possible to benefit from it. If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in taking part, or just coming down for day, then register at treesforcities.org or email Team Tree-Athlon at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Please see our wonderful dedicate a tree packs and help support a charity across the UK :)