Monthly Archives: September 2016

How trees communicate

Here’s a link to the website of the UK’s National Association for Environmental Education which has alerted us to a feature on the Yale Environment 360 blog about how trees communicate with each other.

The Yale article begins:

Two decades ago, while researching her doctoral thesis, ecologist Suzanne Simard discovered that trees communicate their needs and send each other nutrients via a network of latticed fungi buried in the soil – in other words, she found, they “talk” to each other.  Since then, Simard, now at the University of British Columbia, has pioneered further research into how trees converse, including how these fungal filigrees help trees send warning signals about environmental change, search for kin, and transfer their nutrients to neighboring plants before they die. 

By using phrases like “forest wisdom” and “mother trees” when she speaks about this elaborate system, which she compares to neural networks in human brains, Simard’s work has helped change how scientists define interactions between plants. “A forest is a cooperative system,” … “To me, using the language of ‘communication’ made more sense because we were looking at not just resource transfers, but things like defense signaling and kin recognition signaling.  We as human beings can relate to this better.  If we can relate to it, then we’re going to care about it more.  If we care about it more, then we’re going to do a better job of stewarding our landscapes.”  …


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The Top Ten Woods

The Woodland Trust has a list of the country’s top ten woods for autumn colour.  One is in the Forest of Avon; it’s Bishops Knoll in Bristol.  The WT says:

The Woodland Trust says, stroll around the 19th century hidden woodland and garden and uncover secrets from its grand past.

Bishops Knoll was once a medieval deer park and later the grounds of a 19th century stately home.  It is now a myriad of paths, terraces and exotic and ancient trees.

Why don’t you find the arboretum as it is slowly uncovered and while away the hours wandering around this open air time capsule.  We shall see you there …

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Speaking for the trees

The US City Parks Blog has a feature on the life of trees in the city.  It begins:

“To be a tree in the city is very hard.  A tree that would live 80 years in the forest has a life expectancy of 20 years in the suburbs, and less than that in an urban setting where trees are often planted in sidewalk cutouts.  Let’s face it; even if a tree gets planted correctly and watered, it faces a host of other environmental and human challenges ranging from storms, insects, air pollution, and low-quality soil to road salt and reckless drivers.  …”

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Our Orchard project

The Forest of Avon Trust’s Orchard project featured in the latest Countryside Classroom newsletter.  This reported:

Ten schools from across the South West recently learned about the benefits of trees, and planted fruit trees as part of this year’s Schools Orchard Project.

The trust provided guidance and free fruit trees as well as helping out with planting where needed. Hundreds of children got involved and planted a grand total of 95 fruit trees.

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Woodland Wellbeing Dementia Project

The Forest of Avon Trust’s Woodland Wellbeing Dementia Project is an example of a fundamental part of the ethos of the charity at work.

This has been to both apply and develop best practice in the delivery of the benefits of the being in the natural environment.

In this work, the Trust applies the principles of Forest School to deliver successful projects tailored to the needs of diverse groups tackling isolation, developing confidence and more widely improving quality of life.  Currently we are proud to be delivering a project working with people with dementia and their partners and carers.

Woodland activities in sessions have included:

• walking
• listening to bird song
• making kazoos
• making quills to write down thoughts
• making mallets
• using various flowers & berries to make hapa zome bunting

To find out more about our work, or to discuss a new project, email:

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Drawing trees at Kew

Kew Gardens has a new day course on an introduction to drawing trees, which covers composition, scale, experimentation, and texture.  After an outdoor ice-breaker exercise using sketchbooks/paper on board, the morning continues with composition studies using viewfinders which focuses on how the structure of branches and negative space can bring balance to a composition.

The day also includes sessions on experimental drawing and working with a range of materials to explore how mark-making and texture can help reflect the organic nature of trees.  The tutor is Stuart Simler who has exhibited internationally.

It takes place on 29 September: 1030 to 1630.  To book, email with a contact telephone number, or call 020 8332 5626

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Trees for schools from the Woodland Trust

Here are the details of the Woodland Trust’s latest tree offer to schools.  

For November 2016 delivery, packs of 30 saplings in a hedge or copse mix are still available for most state-funded primary (KS2) schools in England. Up to 2 packs may be requested per school.

The application form for delivery of packs of 30, 105 or 420 saplings in March 2017 is due to open on 13 September for any other schools.

For more detail, contact or call 0330 333 3300

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Latest news from the FEN

Click here to see the latest from the Forest Education Network, the FEN.

FEN is a free networking organisation which provides an information, signposting and support service for members that are themselves directly involved with providing or promoting forest education opportunities.  It is currently hosted by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC).

The Forest Education Network covers activities and networks in England. For information about Scotland, visit, and click here for updates from Wales. There is also a diverse and active GB-wide FEI Facebook group.

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