Urban Tree Festival 2024

Urban Tree Festival: Tree Equity Online Seminar

The Woodland Trust kindly invited us to speak at their Tree Equity seminar, as part of the Urban Tree Festival 2024. After Paul Wood from Urban Tree Festival introduced the Tree Equity seminar as part of the wider festivities, Adam Cormack from The Woodland Trust introduced Tree Equity on the whole, and their Tree Equity Score tool developed with American Forests.

Tree equity differences, good and bad

Mark Johnston was the first speaker, with a wealth of knowledge and extensive background in arboriculture and a focus on the urban environment. Relaying a personal and historical view of tree equity through his experiences, he informed us the concept of urban forestry coupled with equity is something that has long since existed, yet never quite realised in poorer areas of cities – a problem we still have.

Katy (second from left) spoke at Woodland Trust's Tree Equity seminar, for the Urban Tree Festival 2024
Urban Tree Festival, Tree Equity in the UK, Woodland Trust

We were blessed to hear once again Beth Collier, Founder of Wild in the City, who helped The Woodland Trust as a consultant through phases of creating the scoring tool. Her non-profit organisation focuses on the relationship between people of colour/ethnic minorities and nature, bringing people together through her qualified workshops on ecotherapy. From an environmental justice angle, Beth wants to use tree equity to highlight further the unequal access to green space for ethnic minorities, and use it to plan a better urban forest to close the gap – something we’ve already started.

Our Engagement Officer, Katy Hawkins, was the last to speak about our tree planting initiative last year for Tree Week 2023. She explained her process of engaging groups and communities – something echoed from Mark – being an important process, and how this lays the foundations for further partnerships and endeavors. We work with local community groups to empower them and to take ownership of their trees, by watering them, pruning them, as well as general love and care.

We want to thank Adam at The Woodland Trust for inviting us onto this fantastic seminar, and we look forward to the next Urban Tree Festival event: tomorrow Katy will be running a Tree Equity walk and talk around Nechells, starting at Nechells POD at 10:30-1, a great follow-up to this online seminar. Follow this link if you’d like to join us: https://urbantreefestival.org/birmingham-tree-equity

13/05/24

Tree Equity Walk & Talk

Urban Tree Festival, tree equity walk
Tree Equity Walk & Talk for the Urban Tree Festival 2024: Urban Forest Accelerator (UFA) team from Birmingham Tree People, National Trust, The Woodland Trust, and Birmingham City Council; representatives from The Active Wellbeing Society, Birmingham Open Spaces Forum, City of Nature, Birmingham City University, and more!

A fantastic turnout today for the Urban Tree Festival Tree Equity Walk & Talk by Katy Hawkins, our Engagement Officer, detailing our equitable planting approach for Birmingham.

With representatives from groups and organisations all over Birmingham and beyond, people gathered to hear the small talk on the ethos of Birmingham TreePeople, and how the Urban Forest Accelerator team also from National Trust and The Woodland Trust, have helped propel last year’s planting programme using community engagement and tree equity.

After a round of introductions, David Coughlin (NT Project Manager for UFA) explained the premise of the UFA wanting to use the TreePeople as best practice example. Katy explained her community-led approach to her role in engagement, drawing attention to existing trees before continuing engagement for planting new trees: “unearthing how local people connect to trees.”

She gave us a tour of some of the equitable planting sites from last year’s programme (Bloomsbury Street, Home/Queens Towers, Vauxhall Road), particularly the ones we planted alongside Nechells POD around their local area, and how the trees are being looked after moving forwards. We even took one of the watering cans from a previous tree care event to water the trees (even though it was raining).

Beautiful poetry and prose extracts were read next to the new trees, to remind us of that beauty, and to continue to notice it around us.

We want to thank every single person for attending this seminar today; seeing members of local groups joining us is why we are doing what we are doing, and it’s all about empowering residents in their local areas to take ownership of their new trees. Thank you to Emily Cooke (NT Senior Project Coordinator for UFA) for arranging the event, and to the Urban Tree Festival. We will have some professional photos coming soon!

16/05/24

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