Young people take part in a tree-planting day. One person can be seen with a wheelbarrow, the other digging a hole in the ground.

Youth tree planting programme launched amid unseasonably warm weather

Young people in London are being encouraged to learn tree planting amid warm weather in the capital. 

Environmental charity Trees For Cities will launch its Youth Programme this month, involving six training sessions over six months to teach young people how to plant and protect urban trees.

The charity works with councils across London, including in Croydon and Bexley, and those aged between 16 and 25 are encouraged to join the programme.

Youth Engagement Manager at Trees For Cities, Megan Akerman, said: “In the sessions, young people will learn how to plant trees, how to protect them throughout the year and also how to promote advocacy of looking after our green spaces more widely.

“This age group can be slightly disengaged with nature, and also at the moment they might have a lot of climate anxiety and won’t be sure how they can help.

“This programme gives young people real-life experience of how to help mitigate the climate crisis – and network with other people who feel the same way.”

The charity, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is due to plant its two millionth tree in the coming months.

The youth programme, which has been a success in previous years, also aims to bring communities together by making the tree-planting days social events, with free hot food provided throughout the winter sessions.

Tree-planting volunteers stand arm in arm.
‘FESTIVAL VIBE’: Volunteers say a community spirit is felt at the tree planting sessions (credit: Luca Radek)

Green spaces within cities create a cooling effect by removing carbon dioxide from the environment and creating shade on solid surfaces. 

Bob Ward, Chair of the London Climate Change Partnership, said: “London suffers from something called the urban heat island effect. That means when the sun shines on dark, manmade surfaces, the sunshine is soaked up easily and turned into heat, which is then emitted. 

“Cities like London can be several degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside.

“Having trees to provide shade is very important because the temperature in the shade is often much cooler, and helps people cope when they’re outdoors. 

“They also soak up carbon dioxide, which is the primary driver of the increase in heat that we’re seeing”, he continued.

The programme’s launch follows the warmest September on record and unseasonal October warmth in the UK, with temperatures in London reaching 25 degrees Celsius in London on Monday. 

Government data shows that nearly 400 deaths in London were attributable to heat in 2022, when temperatures in the UK exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for the first time. 

Information on how to join the Trees For Cities Youth Programme for free can be found on the charity’s website

Image credits: Luka Radek

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