Looking After Ourselves During the Pandemic
The natural and necessary priority for all of us during this extraordinary and difficult time is to do what we can to stay safe and well, also to look out for those whose wellbeing concerns us.
Much has been said about how we can look after our mental and physical health under conditions of social distancing, restricted movement, even isolation. In a way, it all comes down to connection: learning collective lessons about how humankind’s interactions with the natural world have helped to spawn this zoonotic virus, and about how our hyper-connected world has ensured its rapid spread, are vital longer-term challenges. In the meantime, modern technology gives us virtual connection with each other and our awareness of being part of Nature is more important than ever. The time we spend outside may be officially restricted, but social distancing and the banning of collective activities does not and must not shut us off from the Earth. The beauty and variety of life beyond our own species are wellsprings of wisdom, as well as being essential to our health and very survival.
Despite the fear, anxiety and frustration that people are experiencing, this moment of “Stop” is an opportunity (some would say a command!) to reflect on where we have got to, why we are where we are and what choices lie ahead. All of this as well as pure recreation, is enhanced when we immerse ourselves in the other-than-human world. Spring coaxes us out of ourselves, out of the artificial world, into another perspective on life.
As you go, you will no doubt feel a mixture of appreciation for all that’s there and given, along with sadness and concern where there is depletion and damage. Many of us are noticing the ravages of Ash die-back, compounding the previous loss of our Elms.
The Woodland Trust has a sombre assessment of the impact of Ash dieback will have on our landscapes and this might be an apposite time to record the Ash trees where you live. We know there are some huge beauties lining fields and droves known as Boundary Ash. Keeping a pictorial and written record of these as you complete your daily exercise will enable community memories of local landscape to be retained and replanting to be prioritised as necessary.
Reimagining the Levels continues to meet (virtually) and with an eye on the end of ‘lock-down’ is reserving trees and planning events for Autumn. Do contact us about places on the levels or their catchment you’ve seen where tree-planting, or other measures to help Nature re-generate, that would help us to conserve our landscape.
Tree Planting case studies
Four Reimagining the Levels posters (pdf) – Wedmore, B’boro, Godney, Barton.
August 2nd Tree Conference event.
Introducing The Somerset Tree Fund
Trees are incredibly important. Their role in combating climate chaos is perhaps the best argument for planting more as they help to provide cleaner air, flood mitigation and lessen soil erosion. They also provide homes to thousands of species, support livelihoods and promote human development, happiness and mental health.
Unfortunately, the level of tree cover in Somerset is woefully low. The national average is 13% cover (compared to an EU average of 35%) and within Somerset our cover is just 6%. Reimagining the Levels have been working to encourage and persuade more tree planting in our catchments and river plains, and have planted on seven specific sites last winter but we need help to allow us and all our community based partners across Somerset to do more.
If you have ever thought that planting a tree would be a good thing to do but don’t know how to go about it here is some GOOD NEWS! Reimagining the Levels is now partnered with the Somerset Community Foundation and can receive donations for tree planting in Somerset. These donations can make use of Gift Aid to maximise their value.
£25 will buy 10 trees with biodegradable protective cases, supports and mulch
£50 will buy 20 trees with biodegradable protective cases, supports and mulch
£100 will buy 40 trees with biodegradable protective cases, supports and mulch
£250 will buy 100 trees with biodegradable protective cases, supports and mulch
And so on…..
All monies accumulated in the account will go to purchasing and planting trees in Somerset and the benefits will be immediate.
Donate NOW by sending money on the link below. Plant trees in memory of a loved one, for your granny or grandpa, children, friends or yourself – everyone benefits!
Our Project Reports
Reimagining the Levels, Making the Connections
About Reimagining The Levels
We are a group of people who all live on the Somerset Levels and care passionately about its future. The devastating effects of the floods in 2013/14 to individuals, communities, the economy and the environment demonstrated the pressing need for a more joined-up approach that looks at the causes and solutions to flooding across the entire catchment. The world’s changing climate poses a critical challenge to the people and landscape of the Somerset Levels. Brexit too will have dramatic and far reaching implications but we believe that these changes could provide the ideal opportunity for a new vision for rural land use and its economy in terms of food production, farming support, environmental protection and rural development. We have published a comprehensive report (see opposite) which details our vision. Our core group members are listed here.
Our Project area
Where we have planted trees
Zoom out to see all locations and click the red pins for site summary.
More to come; grab your shovels, saplings, whips and wellies, this is just the beginning …
370 trees on land adjacent to the Plotgate scheme in Barton St David. 100 trees (in 11 varieties) provided by RTL and 270 trees in 11 native varieties provided by eforests, along with stakes and guards. TA11 6AT
Baltonsborough Community Orchard
Orchard of 23 apple and pear trees in variety. 30 children involved in school planting of named varieties mirroring their classroom names. BA6 8PX
Plotgate and Framboise Orchard
Plotgate. (a) Mixed linear woodland of 300 whips and (b) a shelterbelt planting of 120 whips.0ver 30 volunteers involved in two separate days of planting. TA11 6AT
Framboise Orchard. 370 trees on land adjacent to the Plotgate scheme in Barton St David. 100 trees (in 11 varieties) provided by RTL and 270 trees in 11 native varieties provided by eforests, along with stakes and guards. TA11 6AT
Avenue of 34 Tilia Cordata on a mix of publicly owned land (playing fields) and privately owned land. BS28 4BS
A woodland has been planned in the village of Monckton Heathfield just outside Taunton to commemorate those men from Somerset who died in the First World War. Over the next few years 11,000 trees will be planted. Reimagining the Levels is offering volunteer labour to help with this and has contributed to one planting session so far, at the end of January 2019. TA2 8QJ
Baybrook Farm Godney
A mixed woodland of 70 trees in land by the river Sheppey. 14 standard sized trees and 56 whips in mixed native varieties. BA5 1RZ