Sunday, 15 October 2017

Tree Sponsor of the Month - October

Here is our October sponsor Roger Lewis. He tells us about his sponsorship of a tree in St Johns at the Deptford end of Brockley ward, planted in winter 2014/15.

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

On Admiral Street, close to the junction with Albyn Road, in St Johns.

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

A silver birch. I'd seen them grown on the residential streets around Sydenham and thought they were a striking addition to the streetscape.

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

Selfishly, just a spot that looked like it needed filling very close to my front door!

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

Very nearly five years. My special memories are fairly conventional, but special to me. I have a regular run up around Hilly Fields and never cease to be calmed by the view over towards the North Downs from the top.

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

I do. It's the vast, I think tropical, ever-green tree in the forecourt of St Johns Church, in St Johns Vale. I was told once what species it is, but have frustratingly forgotten. It reminds me of an Indian banyan tree [we think it's a Holm Oak - Quercus Ilex - Ed]

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

An oak. I think they are beautiful, and so English! We do not have enough of them in Brockley.

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

I am Chairman of the St Johns Society, which fundraised to pay for the planting of over twenty trees around St Johns over 2014-15.

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

It is a lot of money, but what could be a better use for it? It will out-stay you in your community, and provide a lasting contribution to the quality of life of generations of people who succeed you.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Join our Campaign - Lots of Ways

Brockley Society’s Street Trees for Living will be planting 200-250 street trees this winter. They will be not just in Brockley ward but in all these too - Catford South, Crofton Park, Evelyn, Forest Hill, Ladywell, Lewisham Central, New Cross, Rushey Green, Telegraph Hill, and Whitefoot. Planting this winter will include old favourites like silver birch and flowering cherry, but also olive trees, strawberry trees, box elder, hibiscus and lilac. Our new "street reps" raised most of the funding, supplemented by grants from the Greater London Authority, several local assemblies and businesses.

The "street rep" role has enabled the huge increase in numbers of trees planted. During the last year street reps, supported closely by the Street Trees for Living committee, have taken the lead in their streets, brought neighbours and local businesses together to raise money, and made their own decisions on locations and species. The result has been not only greater numbers of trees, but new ideas and a greater sense of local ownership.  We have vacancies in most Lewisham streets. If this interests you please get in touch here.

Our campaign continues to be run entirely by volunteers. We now need to expand our small and friendly remote-working core team. Only some of us have much tree knowledge - most of our work is to plan and manage exciting public events (three this year, all in the blog!), to read and write emails, answer the phone, support our tree guardians and local street reps, and manage information. Please consider joining us. As above, you can get in touch here.

Street Trees for Living works in partnership with Lewisham Council, which facilitates and approves what we do. In our council officer contacts we have found not just invaluable experience and practical support, but enthusiasm and good will. This is despite the effect of an ever-shrinking budget and the habitual council role of punch-bag. Without the council's belief in our work it would be impossible.