I believe that educating future generations to care for our environment and manage it sustainably is crucial if we’re to reverse the damage done by Man to the environment. Educational projects that create connections between the community and nature are a great way to do this. A project I’m lucky enough to be involved in, is a great example of this.
Andover Trees United a volunteer-led group and registered charity is running the One Ash project. They work in partnership with schools, local authorities, businesses, specialist environmental organisations, artists and other creative practitioners to promote conservation and improve access to natural wild spaces.
Andover Trees United
The idea behind the project is to educate children about a tree’s whole lifecycle and how forests are sustainably managed.
“Over the course of the last five years, it has become apparent that children who were tree planting with us were increasingly concerned at the prospect of trees being cut down, revealing a lack of understanding of the concept of ‘forestry’, a word usually associated with ‘deforestation’ when learning about rain forests at school.
“Timber is one of the most sustainable materials we have to work with and, as there are so many different industries that work with wood right here in the Test Valley, we aim to help children make that connection between the tree and the chairs they sit on, the tools they use and even the food they might eat.”Wendy Davis, Andover Trees
the One Ash project’s timeline
There are 3 main parts to the project: Meeting the tree, Felling the tree and then Following the tree. To read about what each entailed click on the headings below to visit the related Andover Trees’ project journal.
October 2019 Meet the Tree – Children from the participating Andover schools met trees. They learnt what they do for us and the environment.
Feb 2020 Felling Day – The chosen Ash tree was felled, milled and transported for distribution and storage.
June 2020 – Timber Distribution – The tree was distributed amongst the crafters, furnituremakers and artists participating in the project.
2022 – An exhibition of all the finished products, along with documentation of the process, will take place in Andover.
meeting the one ash
The Ash tree selected to be used in the project was felled on a part of the Engelfield Estate, just 2 miles from my home!
It was 22 metres tall and 80 years old.
The Ash was selected for the project to highlight the problem of Ash dieback disease which it was in the early stages of.
The disease was first identified in the UK in 2012 and, according to the Woodland Trust, “will kill up to 95% of ash trees across the UK. At a cost of billions, the effects will be staggering. It will change the landscape forever and threaten many species which rely on ash.”
The One Ash project encourages the children to notice Ash trees in their local environment before they start disappearing.
Photo credit: Andover Trees United
One Ash’s location
The Ash tree, kindly donated for the project by Engelfield Estate, grew near Oval Pond in woodland called Roundoak Piece.
felling the tree
Rick and Rob from Englefield Estate felled the Ash tree whilst school children from Andover look on.
Photo credit: Sophie Stocker
following the tree
Not long after Felling Day lockdown happened. So it wasn’t until June that the timber was distributed. My share came from the crown of the tree.
The crown of the tree is the section above the main trunk where it splits into branches. The crown has been shared between around 22 crafters and artists.
You can find out what each crafter and artist is doing with their share by visiting ATU’s One Ash Journals.
Photo credit: Alex Marshall