A new vision for Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

Company: Forestry England and the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Forestry England and the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum have today launched their new 10-year vision for Westonbirt, The National Arboretum. The vision outlines the future direction of the arboretum over the next 10-years, in the run up to Westonbirt’s bi-centenary in 2029, and lays out their key commitments.

The arboretum’s mission is ‘to connect people with trees to improve the quality of life.’

Their vision is ‘to be a world leader in trees, inspiring people through education, participation, and conservation.’

Andrew Smith, Forestry England Director at Westonbirt Arboretum said: “Westonbirt, The National Arboretum has an important part to play in responding to growing environmental and social challenges.

Trees are essential to life with over 75% of land animals and plants living in forests1 and 119 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year being absorbed by trees and forests2. They are also essential to our health and well-being with studies showing that the obesity rate of children living in areas with good access to green spaces is 11-19% lower than in those who have limited or no access.3

However, trees are also facing an unprecedented number of threats; 10,000 of our 60,065 global trees species are now thought to be threatened with extinction.4

Westonbirt Arboretum provides an essential resource for scientists to study and expand our knowledge of trees and increase our understanding of how we can protect them from the growing number of threats they now face. We are also uniquely placed to strengthen people’s connection with trees – with over 15,000 trees and 2,500 species we are the perfect setting to learn about the natural environment.”

Mike Coe, CEO of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum said: “This vision outlines Westonbirt’s place in our changing world and how we will respond to the growing number of environmental and social challenges we are now presented with. By connecting people with trees we can improve understanding of the importance of trees and get more people benefitting from the positive impacts nature has on health and well-being. It’s all about strengthening people’s connections with trees through:

  • Conservation: Protecting our trees for the future
  • Education: Sharing knowledge to create change
  • Participation: Connecting people with nature

But we can’t do it alone – we need the help of the general public and local community to fulfil this vision. We are about to undertake a project to layout a road map for how we will achieve the goals set out in this vision, and we would love to hear from the public on what their aspirations are for the arboretum and ideas they have for how we could connect people with trees. The public can also help by supporting the arboretum through visits, purchasing memberships and donating to the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum. It all helps to care for and connect people to the nation’s trees and forests.”

The full 10-year vision can be found here and members of the public are invited to email their thoughts, ideas and comments to westonbirt.marketing@forestryengland.uk 

 

1 Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 2018, The State of the World’s Forests 2018. Forest Pathways to sustainable development

2 Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 2018, The State of the World’s Forests 2018. Forest Pathways to sustainable development

3 Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 2018, The State of the World’s Forests 2018. Forest Pathways to sustainable development

4 BGCI. 2018. GlobalTreeSearch online database. Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Richmond, UK. Available at www.bgci.org/globaltree_search.php Accessed on (05/04/2018).

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