Growing up in some of the most densely populated cities in the world, our executive director, Olaide Oboh had never given much thought to the value of trees. But, when a tree officer in Brighton explained that plans for an entire development would need to be redesigned because of a tree. One Tree. She quickly realised that there’s more to trees than meets the eye!
At Socius, we talk a lot about social value, and what’s important to people, beyond profit, and since discovering the significant role that trees play in the heritage value of a place, not to mention their environmental impact and the positive benefits they have on our health and wellbeing, Olaide is keen to spread the word about her newfound appreciation of trees…
Until that day in Brighton, I’d never given trees more than a quick glance. But, as I walked up to the Elm Tree in Preston Park, which is one of the largest and oldest surviving trees in Europe, planted in 1613 during the reign of King James I, and visited by tourists from around the world every year, I realised that this was not ‘just a tree’!
Since then, I’ve been learning more, using resources from the Woodland Trust and Trees for Cities and finding out fascinating facts that I now eagerly share. For example, did you know that…
Trees filter out some of the nasties in the air by trapping them on their leaves, giving us cleaner air to breathe?
Trees positively contribute to our mental wellbeing?
Trees provide homes to wildlife, including birds who make nests within their canopies and insects who live in trees?
Trees provide much needed shelter for humans and animals throughout the year; whether it’s cold, hot or windy?
Trees remove excess CO2 from our atmosphere, significantly helping to tackle climate change?
As National Tree Week approaches (25 November to 3 December), I’m excited to continue to learn about the vital role that trees play and to encourage colleagues, friends and my local community to take more interest in trees too.
During that week, I’ve signed up to spend a day planting trees in the green area of a secondary school in my local area, where we’ll be planting a new set of London Plane Trees.
For more information and to get involved in National Tree Week, check out www.treecouncil.org
where you’ll find some excellent resources and information about everything from online webinars to local tree parties.
As a developer largely working in towns and city centres, Socius passionately believes in the transformation that trees can bring to urban areas. That’s why across our projects in Brighton, Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Bristol, we will be planting 281 new trees, of 55 different species, from English Oak to Elms.
We also place huge importance on protecting existing trees, minimising disruption and undertaking any works needed so that they can thrive.
Find out more about how Socius is delivering impact here