“The radical and inspirational arts and environmental charity, Common Ground curates a discussion for the Timber Festival, exploring how trees and woods in towns, cities and the countryside can rebuild our wider relationship with nature, reinforcing local identity and sustaining wildlife.
The evening will share news of the many social forestry initiatives spreading across the UK creating new community spaces and bringing woodlands back into the everyday life of more people. Wildlife conservation, wood fuel and timber production are no longer the only reasons people are living closer to trees. Lots of new wood based ventures are emerging across the country: care in the community, apprenticeships, forest allotments, co-operative fuel initiatives, artistic practice, architectural education, Forest School and woodland permaculture.
The event will also explore the many innovative arboreal projects connecting people to nature through planting, celebrating and caring for trees and how through practical contact people are discovering all sorts of social benefits, in education, in health and well-being, in social inclusion or economic equality.
Robin Walter, author and forester, is writing a new book for Common Ground called Living with Trees, which brings together many of the ideas explored during the event and will be published later this year as an essential guide for people who would like to care and celebrate the trees in their community.
Dave Dixon is a member of the UK Steering Group overseeing the “Making Local Woods Work” Big Lottery programme, and has spent the last five years involved with woodland social enterprises in south west England.
Seb Austin is the Urban Forest and Operations Manager at Trees for Cities, a charity working on an international scale to create greener cities.
Alex Tempest is the founder-director of Woodland Presents, an organisation exploring how British woodlands can become economically viable, culturally important and ecologically flourishing.
Kath Pasteur works with ARC-CIC and helps manage Foundry Wood, an urban community woodland in Leamington, Warwickshire, where she also runs health and wellbeing programmes in woodlands.