This week I am very excited because I am planning a new series of workshops. I have been asked by the Woodland Trust to run training sessions for teachers and group leaders about the Ancient Tree Hunt project.
I always love the planning bit because I know that delivering these workshops is going to be so much fun! I ran workshops for the fantastic Nature Detectives programme in 2006 which were a huge success and we had over 100 delegates.
There's lots of great free resources on the website and all the lesson plans are linked to the new Key Stage 3 curriculum which launches in September. The aim of the project is to get thousands of people finding and mapping all the fat, old trees across the UK. It is right at the heart of the Woodland Trust’s ancient tree conservation work.
What are ancient trees?
In the words of the Woodland Trust, they are the ones that make you go 'wow'! They are living relics, support a multitude of wildlife and are part of our heritage. Officially, ancient trees are four 'hugs' or more wide (yes a hug is just what it sounds like).
What's the link between the Hunt and interpretation?
One great thing about the Ancient Tree Hunt is that the clever people at the Woodland Trust are empowering ordinary people to record their own memories and feelings about trees that are special to them. On the project website, you can record the location of ancient trees but you can also record other 'notable' trees that have other stories attached to them. You can even upload photos of you hugging your tree and blog entries about it. The Hunt is helping to actively engage the public in their natural heritage and building their own personal meanings and interpretations of it.
So now my search is on for the perfect venues across England and Wales; they need to have lots of trees and at least a couple of really old ones, a nice indoor room and a friendly welcome. Ashridge Estate (National Trust) in Hertfordshire is the first confirmed venue with more to come soon.
Is there an ancient tree near you?