At Cass Art, we’re committed to working towards a greener future, so we’ve teamed up with Trees for Cities, the only UK charity working at a national and international scale to improve lives by planting trees in cities and urban spaces. Whenever you buy a 10p plastic bag in-store to help you carry your creative goodies home, we give to the charity, to help make a real impact on the health and wellbeing of communities across the UK.
The effects of climate change are already being felt across the world, and here in the UK we’re experiencing warmer, wetter winters, and hotter, drier summers, creating higher temperatures and polution in our cities. The impact has been an unprecedented threat to some iconic tree species, including ash, horse chestnut and oak.
Photo by Beth McConnell
By planting thousands of urban trees each year, Trees for Cities is building resilience against threats facing the natural environment. Planting a range of tree species enhances structural and functional diversity in woodlands and on city streets.
The brainchild of three inspired students, since it’s inception as Trees for London in 1993, the organisation has planted a whopping 1,285,073 trees! Today they have branched out even further (pun intended), planting trees in cities across the world, including Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Bucharest, Romania; and Nairobi, Kenya.
Back in 2013, as part of the City of London Festival, Trees for Cities teamed up with Australian Artist Konstantin Dimopoulos to colour trees in the heart of London bright blue, to inspire Londoners to notice and reflect on the importance of our street trees. And rightly so! Not only does being around nature help to reduce anxiety and stress, but each year London’s trees remove 2.4 million tonnes of air pollution, including carbon dioxide, dust and other gaseous toxins. Trees can also protect us from flooding, as a single mature tree can absorb up to 450 litres of water through it’s roots every day. They also support our urban wildlife, with oak trees alone providing habitats for more than 257 sepcies of insects not to mention birds, squirrels and bats.
Trees for Cities are also working with schools to create ‘Edible Playgrounds’, vibrant outdoor teaching gardens which offer a lively, engaging, multi-sensory way to teach children about growing and eating healthy food. To date, 162 edible playgrounds have been created, supporting thousands of children across the UK.
To find out more and see how you can get involved with a number of projects across the UK, visit treesforcities.org/get-involved.
The vibrant illustrations featured throughout this article were created for Trees for Cities by Rachel Presky. An illustrator and artist from the UK, Presky’s work is continually evolving and has become a joyful celebration of different people. Her clients also include Adobe, Mondi, the British red cross, Clarna and many more. Follow Rachael on Instagram @rachaelpresky or visit her website rachaelpresky.co.uk.