It was an exciting evening at the #TreeOscars last night as we celebrated two awards wins; the Tree and Woodland Planting Award for our Language of Nature project with The Sensory Trust, and the Trees for Nature and Climate Award for our work with Lewisham Council and local primary schools.
Language of Nature
We've won the Tree and Woodland Planting Award for our Language of Nature projects at Philpots Farm Open Space and Victoria Park. This award is for tree and woodland planting on publicly accessible land.
The Language of Nature is a two year programme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and led by the Sensory Trust. This project focuses on enhancing the accessibility of nature conservation and restoration for everyone, with a central emphasis on inclusive language and communication.
In 2021, we joined the programme, leading the delivery of the initiative in London. We have been working to integrate accessibility into every step of our programmes, focusing particularly on two project sites in the 2022/23 planting season: Philpot’s Farm Open Space and Victoria Park.
We worked with the Sensory Trust to create new accessible resources for our workshops and events, for example using Widgits. We trialled these at Philpot’s Farm Open space at our Community Planting Day and at workshops on the site with a local school for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN).
Our Victoria Park event had a BSL interpreter to aid in communicating about the day’s activities, and we trialled a relaxed sign-in for those who require further 1-1 support and a quieter environment.
Many thanks to the Sensory Trust for their partnership, which has been recognised by winning this award - but this is just the start of our journey, and we are working hard to continue to make our work accessible to everyone.
Lewisham SuDs for Schools
We've won the Trees for Nature and Climate Award for our Lewisham SuDS for Schools project, recognising the importance of trees and woodland in tackling the climate crisis.
This award recognises our partnership with Lewisham Council and local schools to help adapt vulnerable urban school playgrounds to the changing climate - using trees and natural solutions to help manage surface flooding.
SuDs stands for Sustainable Drainage Systems, and with the help of Street Trees for Living, we identified three schools that are in the Department for Education's top 5% for flood risk.
This project aims to capture and take advantage of the vast amounts of rainwater runoff from the playgrounds and recycle water to feed trees and large areas of planting. Whilst reducing the urban heat effect of the play area, we can also create multifunctional and educational and habitat-rich playgrounds. The Lewisham programme is funded by Greater London Authority, Department for Education, Thameswater, Lloyds of London and the Big Give.
A similar project has recently been completed at Abbey Mead Primary School, where new gardens and trees will help manage surface water flooding, with the potential to capturing up to 1,000M2 of rainwater.
Thanks for the recognition
Many thanks to the Mayor of London's Environment and Energy team for recognising our efforts at the London Tree and Woodland Awards 2023, and to our funders and partners for helping us get there.
What a way to kick off National Tree Week 2023, the nation's biggest celebration of trees!