Press Release via Bristol City Council
Kevin McCloud and Pat Cash join local people to plant a unique tree ‘cathedral’ as part of Bristol’s One Tree Per Child and Future Perfect Public Art programmes.
As the tree-planting season gets underway, television broadcaster Kevin McCloud, former Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson, One Tree Per Child co-founder Jon Dee and children from Perry Court Primary School are getting their hands dirty to help plant a striking community orchard in the shape of a cathedral on Whitchurch Village Green.
The original design was created by artist David Thorpe after discussions with local residents and will feature 47 fruit trees. It will become a unique community meeting place as well as providing an abundance of free food for local people.
The planting is part of Bristol City Council’s One Tree Per Child programme, the mayoral initiative to plant 36,000 trees to mark the city’s status as European Green Capital 2015.
As more trees are planted it will give everyone, particularly the city’s children, a stake in the future of their local environment and an opportunity to grow free food.
The council teamed up with the Australian One Tree Per Child initiative founded by Olivia Newton-John and Australian environmentalist, Jon Dee.
Bristol is the global launch city for this international programme and it has already planted 15,000 trees in city schools, home gardens and local green spaces.
Now, as the traditional tree-planting season begins, the drive is on to plant all 36,000 trees by the end of March 2016. All 130 primary schools in Bristol are taking part in the programme.
As part of the programme, primary school pupils can plant free trees and shrubs in their school grounds or nearby green spaces. They also get the chance to plant a free fruit tree at home. Local communities can also help the children to plant new woodlands in their neighbourhood.
The new orchard, which sits on land given Village Green status after a three-year campaign by local residents, was commissioned by Bristol City Council’s Future Perfect Public Art Programme managed by the Stockwood, Hengrove and Whitchurch Neighbourhood Partnership. Artist David Thorpe spent time talking to residents about their hopes for their community and the future.
Bristol Mayor George Ferguson said: “I promised Bristol I would introduce a school-based tree planting scheme so I was delighted to link up with One Tree Per Child to deliver 36,000 trees across Bristol.
“I am also really pleased to link Bristol’s One Tree Per Child programme with this unique community orchard and applaud the efforts of artist David Thorpe and the people of Hengrove and Whitchurch to create this very special green space which is yet another Green Capital legacy.
“One Tree Per Child is an excellent way to educate children about the importance of planting for their future wellbeing. As a child’s tree grows, their commitment to the environment and their local community grows as well.”
He continued: “We are already sharing our experiences with other cities and towns around the world. I have spoken to Mayors across the world who have shown great enthusiasm for being part of this growing global movement. I am encouraging them to follow our lead, step-up their tree planting ambitions and make the world a greener place.”
Sustainability expert Jon Dee who co-founded One Tree Per Child with Olivia Newton-John says: “Olivia Newton-John and I are really grateful to Bristol for taking such a strong leadership role in enabling local primary schools and their children to plant one tree per child. This leadership has helped us to attract further participation overseas.
“Off the back of Bristol’s launch of One Tree Per Child, Australia’s now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched One Tree Per Child in Australia in June. Together with Australia’s Environment Minister Greg Hunt, he announced a Government grant to One Tree Per Child that will enable 100,000 children to plant 100,000 trees. 11 local councils in Australia have already followed Bristol’s example by getting involved with One Tree Per Child and many other councils are set to sign up.”
The programme is also announcing One Tree Per Child projects for Africa with local charities CHASE Africa and TREE AID.
Kevin McCloud is an Ambassador for Bristol 2015 and One Tree Per Child.
He says: “It’s really important to teach children tree planting skills from a young age to encourage an interest in nature, wildlife habitat and help reverse the global trend of mass deforestation. We are losing tropical forest at the rate of a football pitch every two seconds.
“Here, Bristol has led the way internationally with the One Tree Per Child project and has set a great example. We now need to see primary schools and local councils across the UK and round the world following Bristol in getting their children to plant one tree per child in their local community.
“It’s also particularly exciting that One Tree Per Child is now starting to roll out in African countries such as Ghana, Kenya and Mali. In these countries, trees play a vital role in society, providing food, fuel and shelter and establishing microclimates for growing other crops.
“I’m passionate about trees, so I was particularly excited about being able to bring One Tree Per Child and the highly respected local charities TREE AID and CHASE Africa all together in Bristol.
“I’m a patron of CHASE Africa, who undertake serious tree-planting schemes in Africa along with TREE AID. So I think we can expect to see One Tree Per Child spread across other countries and continents as CHASE Africa and TREE AID lead the way with this rollout in Africa! We can be proud knowing that what has started in Bristol can help change the lives of children in these countries in an engaging way.”
John Moffett, Chief Executive Officer for TREE AID says: “TREE AID is delighted to get involved in the One Tree Per Child project to help expand the initiative to Africa. In the drylands of Africa, where TREE AID works, trees not only improve the environment, but their fruits and nuts also provide a vital source of food to the families living there. We are working with ten schools in Mali and two schools in Ghana, where we hope to plant over 10,000 trees in 2016 under the One Tree Per Child initiative.
“We are passionate about helping school children in both Bristol and Africa to understand the true value of trees and ensuring that future generations can benefit from the trees we plant today.”
Robin Witt, founder of CHASE Africa says: “CHASE Africa are delighted to be partnering with One Tree Per Child to give Kenyan school children the opportunity to plant trees. The children will be given practical lessons in how to grow and look after trees, something that will enhance their school environment, and hopefully will inspire them to plant trees at home.”
Theresa Bergne from the Future Perfect project says: “We’re delighted to see the realisation of this wonderful project, which is the culmination of artist David Thorpe’s work with local residents to create an artwork that could be a unique legacy for Hengrove.
“The orchard will be a ‘living’ meeting place and the trees and fruit will belong and by enjoyed by local residents. We are particularly pleased the orchard is on Whitchurch Village Green, an important area of green space that has been ‘preserved’ through the action and interest of local people.”
As well as local schoolchildren, volunteers from Bristol Skills Academy, Asda stores around the city and the local community will join the tree-planting to help the new community orchard take shape.