Andover Secondary School students speak at national Tree Conference
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The Tree Conference at the Merlin Theatre in Frome on Sunday 21st October 2018 was an inspirational, sell-out event which showcased effective strategies for citizen-led reforestation and for halting deforestation worldwide.

Attended by a 240-strong audience, the event placed a core focus on supporting the younger generation to be resilient caretakers of the Earth.

As part of Mary Reynolds Thompson’s talk, calling for ‘deep imagination’ to be brought back into our school systems, the Conference also gave the stage to four Andover secondary school students from Harrow Way and Rookwood to highlight what we need to do, from their perspective. Andover Trees United’s Wendy Davis accompanied Hannah Bradbury and Erin Hacker (GCSE year, Rookwood) and Megan Nikolic and Nicola Marshall (Year 8 Harrow Way). Trained as ‘Plant-for-the-Planet Climate Justice Ambassadors’, the girls’ responsibilities include training their peers, reaching out to community leaders and local politicians.

The girls called for children and adults to work together, combining the strong imaginal capacity of children to re-envision the future with the aptitude of adults to turn ideas into action. “If we don’t do something then my kids might not get to know some of the animals in the wild and in the rainforests,” said Erin. “I learn about crude oil in school but not about its effect on the environment - changing the education system would be a wonderful place to start,” said Hannah. “Listen to us, we have lots to say, stop talking, start planting!” urged Megan.

Andover Trees United shared the stage with headline speakers at the event which included:

  • Millennial trailblazer Ayana Young, founder of the 1 Million Redwoods Project in California, who spoke of the devastating effects of global warming she’d recently witnessed first-hand in Alaska, pointing out that practically nothing is being done to stop the destruction of our planet

  • Isabella Tree, author of Wilding, who gave a talk highlighting that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, and sharing her exemplary work for generating ecosystems for the future

  • Scientist Dr Martin Bidartondo who wowed the audience presenting his pioneering research into how soil fungi health has been significantly affected across the UK by excess nitrogens (from fertilisers and air pollution), with a considerable knock-on effect for tree health.

  • Flatpack Democracy author Peter Macfadyen who gave an overview of leading-edge tree projects around the world

  • Local Somerset author Julian Hight who shared his work reviving Selwood Forest

  • Andy Egan and Teresa Gitonga of International Tree Foundation who shared guidelines for communities to support landscape regeneration projects, modelled on their work in Kenya

In the Conference’s final panel discussion, Tree Conference founder Suzi Martineau suggested that a quiet and powerful ‘revolution of care’ was underway: “It’s happening all over the country, especially among the millennial generation. People see what’s going on and their radical response is to change their lives to focus on planting and working with the land in towns, cities and across the countryside.”

Photo credits to Joe Hulbert and Wendy Davis.

Wendy Davis
AGM 1st October 2018

The annual report can be read here…

Fifteen members attended the AGM at The White Hart on Monday evening; thirteen members sent apologies. Dan Lobb chaired the meeting, treasurer Liz Scrace presented the annual accounts and Wendy Davis described the year’s achievements. Two new Trustees, Tim Rolt and Phill Jennison were welcomed to the team. The chair thanked the outgoing Trustees, Barbara Long and James Nash for their contributions, with special recognition going to Barbara Long for her commitment to the project since its inception in 2011.

A lively discussion followed concerning the provision of facilities in Harmony Woods and it was agreed that priority be given to fundraising for the purchase of two mobile composting toilets, or ‘Thunderboxes’. A further £2,500 needs to be raised and it was decided that proceeds from the November Quiz Night (see Events Calendar) would go towards the ‘Spend-a-Penny’ fund. If you would like to make a donation, please get in touch.

The annual report can be read here…

Andover Trees United celebrates Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots International Peace Day
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Dr Jane Goodall, who is famous for her ground-breaking work with primates, invited Andover Trees United to host her educational charity Roots & Shoots International Day of Peace in the town on Friday 21st September.

Over 200 pupils, councillors, representatives and guests attended the parade in Harmony Woods, in which a giant peace dove took centre stage. Special thanks go to teachers and pupils at Andover C of E for making the giant dove.

Dr Goodall was unable to attend as she had duties linked to her role as a UN Messenger of Peace, but she sent a video message thanking the town for its hard work.

She said: “I was so happy to hear that the town of Andover was holding the parade this year, and I especially want to thank the Andover Trees United team and all of the volunteers for organizing this special day.

“I wanted to thank the amazing Roots & Shoots schools, the teachers and all of the young people involved in making the doves and spreading the important message of peace and I want to thank the Lord Lieutenant’s office and the town’s officials for all their support and understanding and I want to thank the residents of Andover and villages for participating.”

Town councillor Katherine Bird said: “If people want to see what Andover can do, they should look at Harmony Woods. Just see what’s going on there. It’s an amazing example of what community groups can do.”

Headteacher at Abbotts Ann Primary School, Jane Hall said: “Our children came back buzzing from the procession and had a super morning.”

Pupils attended from the following schools: Abbotts Ann C of E Primary, Andover C of E Primary, Harrow Way, Icknield, Mark Way, Pilgrim’s Cross, Portway Juniors, Rookwood, Vigo Primary and Winton.

The event was also celebrated with wonderful displays of doves and goodwill messages in schools as well as in Andover Library where 100s of doves made at the August Fun Fridays are on show.

Andover Trees United celebrates Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots International Day of Peace in Harmony Woods

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Roots & Shoots Awards 2018

Harrow Way students win Roots & Shoots Award for Group Most In Touch With Nature and are rewarded with a trip to Kew Gardens. Here are some of their responses.

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Nicola
“At the awards it was amazing because we got to meet Dr Jane Goodall. It was so cool just to be in the same room as her. When the awards were handed out the speech that Dr Jane said was just so inspiring just to be sat there listening to what she had done in her life was just amazing. My reaction when we won the award was surprise and excitement because I didn't think that we would get one of the awards and when we got up on that stage Jane said thank you to all of us and I was just so thrilled to be up there with her.
 
Part of our prize was visiting Kew gardens. We went to Kew on the 25th of May 2018. We went around most of the garden including the fungarium. We learned about different types of fungus and plants. I liked looking at all the fungus and the mini waterfalls and the giant lake that is close to the entrance. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been to.”
 
Izzy
“At the awards it was great seeing all of the other schools and finding out what they had done to support our community. I also loved meeting lots of different people from all around the world that do all sorts of different things.
I was really surprised when we found out that we won the nature award because I knew that we had some competition and that it was our first year in the ethical awards. However, I was very proud of the comments we were given and the work we had put into our display.

Kew was amazing! We got a private tour of the fungarium where I learned that most fungi isn’t the normal mushroom shape, some look really weird, some are huge whereas some area tiny. I loved going in the palm house and seeing all of the different foods being grown from all around the world.”

 

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