It's Tree Time: new scheme launched to help protect Edinburgh's trees

Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust issued the following news release today:

Launch of Tree Time
Sophia and Hugo from Flora Stevenson's nursery school help launch Tree Time at Inverleith Park

A brand new scheme allowing people to donate towards Edinburgh’s trees was officially launched at the Capital’s Inverleith Park today [Thursday 20 June 2019].

Tree Time is a pilot initiative spearheaded by the Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and the Woodland Trust Scotland.

Its aim is to increase and maintain the Capital’s trees by offering a way of commemorating a loved one’s life, marking a child’s birth, celebrating a special anniversary or just to show how much a person cares about trees and/or Edinburgh as a place.

The scheme was launched today by children from Flora Stevenson’s nursery and Edinburgh Makar (poet laureate) Alan Spence, who read a selection of short, tree-themed works.

By taking part in Tree Time, donors can choose from a range of packages from £20 to £5,000, all of which will go towards planting more trees in Edinburgh as well as looking after existing trees in the city, with an initial focus on planting more street trees.

The higher end of the donation scale offers the opportunity to sponsor an existing tree or pay for a new tree to be planted. A personalised, commemorative plaque will be placed on the tree in recognition of the donation.

Charlie Cumming, Chief Executive, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust said: “Urban trees are crucial in providing green corridors and make up some of the Capital’s most famous streets, landmarks and gardens. Many of those trees were planted in Victorian times, so are now reaching the end of their natural lives. For example, 100,000 of Edinburgh’s trees are deemed to be in a critical condition or dying. Tree Time Edinburgh aims to work with partners in order to raise funds to begin planting now, the estimated 6,500 trees per year required to compensate for those we lose. We want to plant large, prominent trees in local streets, before the existing ones die.”

Councillor Cammy Day, Depute Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Just last month Edinburgh became the first local authority in Scotland to sign the Charter for Trees, Woods and People and our commitment to protect, enhance, cherish, nurture and increase trees in the city is unwavering. There are already more trees than people in Edinburgh (650,000 trees compared to 513,000 people) and they add enormously to our wellbeing and quality of life. We’ve planted thousands of trees and whips since June 2017 and are determined to keep investing in more.

“However, trees can’t look after themselves – they need us as much as we need them. Unfortunately – and like all local authorities - many of our trees are under threat due to their age, environmental changes and diseases such as Dutch Elm.

“We know our residents are equally as passionate about our trees as we and our partners are and I think Tree Time is an excellent way for people to play a pivotal role in making this city better, healthier and even more beautiful while celebrating a special occasion or commemorating a loved one.”

Tim Hall, Head of Estate and Programmes for Woodland Trust Scotland said: “We are delighted to support this scheme. The climate crisis raises many challenges for society with some tough decisions to be made, but the easiest thing we can do right away is get more trees in the ground.

“Urban trees not only soak up carbon, they can significantly reduce energy use in buildings, reduce flooding, clean the air we breathe and drastically improve the liveability of cities. People are happier and healthier around trees.”

Alan Spence, Edinburgh Makar, said: “The American poet Joyce Kilmer wrote, famously,

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

“That doesn’t stop poets taking inspiration from trees, in every climate, in every season. Here are four of my own efforts, little haiku (a Japanese verse form):

yellowlantern tendrils,

I’ve just found out your name -

hello laburnum!


the willow tree 

I had never noticed

before this grey rainy day


every autumn

that has ever been -

a tree half green half gold


wee haiku of a tree -

smallest in the garden

but holding its own

“Trees are not just inspirational, they’re essential, for our spiritual wellbeing, for the health of the planet, our very survival as a species. This initiative, to plant trees and nurture them, is wonderful and timely.
“It starts here.”

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