Trees, People and Art

6th December 2019
Joseph Beuys digging

Joseph Beuys: The Art of Arboriculture

Many great artists have drawn or painted trees, yet increasingly artists have used trees not a subject but as the substance of the art itself. Some of the best art using trees includes chainsaw sculptors carving into dead or fallen trees, or tree-shaping – making living trees grow into artworks – or artists harnessing the natural colour and beauty of trees to sculpt amazing geometric shapes. Here AWA Tree Consultant Dr Felicity Stout details what is possibly the best example […]
25th July 2018
Mao Feng Shui Forest

How China’s Feng Shui forests survived Chairman Mao’s infamous ‘war against nature’.

The mission of Communist China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ was to ‘conquer nature’. This mission was carried out with devastating efficiency in the name of a stronger China. Famously this foolhardy war against nature led to Mao instructing farmers to kill wild sparrows, as they were apparently eating too much grain and reducing productivity. This mass cull of the harmless birds had numerous associated negative environmental impacts. The Great Leap Forward also led to a massive loss of China’s forests, largely […]
24th May 2018

Ashoka and Arboriculture in India.

It is commonly believed that street trees originated in the capital cities of Europe in the 1500s. First in France, then Holland and then to London and the rest of the continent. This European history of street trees is rightly uncontested. However, there is compelling evidence of a vast network of managed street trees, from over 2000 years ago. A massive programme of tree planting and arboricultural management along routes over many thousands of miles across India and South Asia. […]
2nd March 2018
The Northern Forest: History

A common wealth of trees? Tree-planting past and present

The U.K government recently unveiled plans for ‘The Northern Forest’ – a 25-year tree planting scheme to create a ‘vast ribbon of woodland’ along the M62 corridor from Liverpool and Chester to Hull. The Northern Forest will link up fragmented woodland along the M62 belt and will deliver flood mitigation for up to 190,000 new homes, lock up over 7 million tonnes of carbon, boost wildlife habitat and contribute to northern England’s natural capital and ecosystem services. It is an […]
10th October 2017
Sheffield Wednesday Alder

Why are Sheffield Wednesday called ‘The Owls’?

Sheffield is home to the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, which was formed in 1857. Today the main teams are Sheffield United ‘The Blades’ and Sheffield Wednesday ‘The Owls’. While ‘The Blades’ name is easily attributed to Sheffield’s main historic industry, most people don’t know why Sheffield Wednesday are known as ‘The Owls’. People would be forgiven in thinking the team once had a pet owl as the mascot, or some other strigine link. In fact, the reason Sheffield […]
12th July 2016

Thoreau and Arboriculture

    HENRY DAVID THOREAU was born 199 years ago, on 12th July 1817.  An extraordinary person and writer, he is often credited with anticipating modern ecology and environmentalism. His particular fascination with trees should also justifiably label him as one of the forefathers of modern arboriculture. The definition of arboriculture is the science and art of tree care, and few individuals embodied these qualities more than Thoreau. Trees were crucial to his writing, poetry, philosophy and spirituality; however, he also […]
17th April 2016

George Orwell: Spring is here, and they can’t stop you enjoying it.

  George Orwell is one of England’s greatest writers. He is not famous for nature writing, yet Orwell’s 1946 essay about the arrival of Spring, is a masterpiece. It’s a clearly written easy-read, avoiding any of the flowery language often used in nature writing, and it highlights Orwell’s brilliant insight, humanity and common sense truths that are still helpful today.   He begins his essay by referring to the toad – largely because he sees it as the underdog of […]
19th March 2016

Marilyn Monroe: Trees give me a little hope

Marilyn Monroe defines the 1950s. Even today, as an icon of American popular culture, she has few rivals. She epitomised the modern liberated woman – an endorsement of consumer culture and glamour – available to anyone using the right make-up, clothes and peroxide. The public perception of Marilyn Monroe seems about as far as one can get from the realm of trees. However, she displayed an ongoing and genuine affection for trees and woods, as evidenced from interviews with her […]
22nd December 2015

Tree Surveys in the Bleak Midwinter

Tree surveys in winter bring their own challenges. Trying to look up into the crown of a tree in the icy rain isn’t fun for long. The speed of a tree surveyor, moving from one tree to the next, seems to be perfect to avoid the creation of any type of body warmth. All before the inevitable raging against the dying of the light, as darkness falls at 3pm. One aspect of surveying trees in winter that many arborists initially struggle with […]
17th July 2015

The Major Oak of Sherwood Forest

The Major Oak of Sherwood Forest attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. It was recently the clear winner in England’s tree of the year competition. Yet, if it was not for the work of a retired local man, it would have been a different story. The tree would have remained just another Oak in Birchland Wood. Mr Hayman Rooke was born in 1723 in London. After a military career, “Major” Rooke retired, to Mansfield Woodhouse in Nottinghamshire. In […]