A Tree.Mend.Us Day- 8th March 2020

On a sunny day in September, Adrian and I went to Colchester to meet with Ros Green, the Director of the Essex Book Festival, to discuss our ‘Young Poets of the Year’ Awards.

Sitting in the shade of trees, in front of the Firstsite gallery, the conversation evolved – as it usually does with creatives! – and Ros mentioned her ‘Green Manifesto’ for Essex 2020 – a platform for young people in Essex and beyond to express their thoughts and ideas about tackling Climate Change.

As we were sharing our concerns about Climate Change, we discovered a common love for trees. Ideas started to bounce around ideas on how we could share this love (of trees) and Adrian joked: “what a ‘tremendous’ day we were having!”, and this is how ‘A Tree.Mend.Us Day’ was born.

The next question we asked ourselves was ‘How can we engage families and children on a topic like sustainability and the importance of trees?’ Fun is always a good answer, and learning through play looked like the best option. The program of the day began to emerge: a film, the Lorax, then STEAM activities designed to learn more about the magic of trees and to give a feeling of empowerment as well as provide skills development were included in (STEAM being a particular passion of the Ideas Hub).

The Ideas Hub Chelmsford is very lucky to work with such a great team of multi-talented creatives, always ready to respond with enthusiasm to the next challenge! The next 2 months leading to the Essex Book Festival were then spent creating STEAM interactive 3-D hands on learning resources about trees and their vital role into our survival.

Artimate, a brilliant creative company who teaches animation, and Chelmsford Poetry Circle, came together to offer a workshop day during the February half-term to create a sweet little animation film on what trees mean to us. To view the animation please click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=503841057235149. Animation is a really great STEAM activity as it introduces the use of digital tech in a friendly way through creativity.

Finally all was ready for our Tree.Mend.Us Day, and it took place on the 8th March at Chelmsford Civic Theatre – who had kindly provided the venue for free to Essex Book Festival. A tapestry of a tree as an eco-system was the “hero” activity of the day. An outline of the tree was created with recycled material from an interior design firm and leaves requiring stitching on the day  were pre-cut – a valuable STEAM activity! (Did you know that sewing workshops have been introduced in medical schools for future doctors and surgeons?) The tapestry – once lockdown is over – will be touring nurseries and preschools. Again this is another perfect example of a  STEAM activity with the art/ creativity used to explain the complexity of the science topic: a tree as an eco-system.

Altogether it really was a tremendous day!