Thursday, 24 August 2017

Tree Sponsor of the month - September

Tree Sponsor of the Month took a break in August. Here is our September sponsor. Eleanor Ashfield tells us about her contribution to planting very many street trees in Brockley. 

1. Where is the sponsor tree located and why did you choose that particular site? 

I have sponsored about 20 street trees, starting in 2014, and they are located all over Brockley, from Cranfield Road to Shardeloes all the way over to the other side of Hilly Fields park. Local residents help me by chipping in a little towards each one, and helping with the watering (apart from the 3 which I water, on my street). 

2. What species of tree did you select and why?

I studied which trees actually contribute to pollution. There’s a great article by the Woodland Trust (click here). They found that Silver Birch, Alder, Pine and Laurels were the most effective at combatting air pollution. I’m a keen environmentalist, so most of my trees are Silver Birch or Laurel, with a few others for diversity on occasion. 

3. Why did you choose to sponsor a tree? Does it mark a special event or is it dedicated to someone?

My trees are dedicated to all those who fight air pollution, especially Greenpeace and Livingstreets, who promote walking, not taking the car, especially in cities. We can all act, every day to reduce our use of cars, to buy electric cars, and to walk more. Improving London’s currently very bad air quality will literally save thousands of lives.  

4. How long have you lived in the borough of Lewisham? Do you have any special memories you could share about the area?

I have lived in Brockley since 2007 and it’s the best place to live in London. My heart was bursting with pride when all the libraries stayed open and my local community library in Crofton Park has actually got better, and has a brilliantly stocked bookshop too. My favourite memory has to be lying on the grass under the trees on Hilly Fields eating ice creams during the Brockley Midsummer Fair.

5. Do you have a favourite tree in the area, apart from your sponsor tree of course? 

I love the cherry trees along Cranfield Road – in spring they shower everything in blossom and it’s beautiful. 

6. If there were no constraints what tree would you have chosen and why?

Probably even more trees to fight more air pollution. I wanted a Gingko Biloba tree (a great clean air maker) but the council didn’t have one. 

7. How did you learn about sponsoring a street tree through Street Trees for Living?

I saw a great little newspaper by the Brockley Society, all about how they had attended a conference talking about the role of trees in reducing air pollution. And there was an ad for sponsoring a street tree. I was all fired up and contacted them immediately! They are a lovely bunch and they really care about Brockley (and about London). I am overjoyed that this program has spread to other London areas since. It’s a great scheme. 

8. What would you say to someone who is considering sponsoring a street tree?

Do it! This is a brilliant program. You’ll feel so much more ownership for your local area and pride to be here. I even end up picking up random litter these days, and tidying up bits of Hilly Fields when rubbish is left out. Get involved and share the good feeling that you are part of the solution. 

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