Over 6,500 visitors, across the generations, were delighted by The Tree Council’s Force for Nature Exhibition over the last two weeks, as it made its debut in Birmingham. More than 1,000 visitors left our message tree brimming with messages of hope and affection for trees and nature.
School children from across the UK and members of the general public from across the country, as well as Europe and beyond, were invited to hear the voices of Young Tree Champions passionate about creating a greener, tree-filled future in our immersive sound and light installation, Voices of Nature.
Other exhibition activities were enthusiastically taken up by all, including the opportunity to try out the mesmerising PlantWave, a neat little device for converting a plant’s electrical conductivity into audio. By attaching one electrode to themselves and a second to our tree, visitors could make tree music simply by touching its leaves, experiencing a magical new connection with nature.
Other exhibition activities included sowing an acorn to take home and nurture, with more than 2500 being sown over the 8 days.
Richard Pollard, head of The Tree Council’s National Schools Programme, said “The Force for Nature Exhibition and Festival at Birmingham Botanical Gardens has been the most amazing experience. It has given young people in some of the most nature deprived communities in the UK the opportunity to speak up about trees, nature and the issues that affect their future, and the unique immersive space of the Voices of Nature installation has brought those messages to the general public.
“The reactions from the general public, from tiny babies to senior citizens, have been really special, and I believe that they, like myself, have found the whole experience both moving and incredibly hopeful. Together with nature I believe we can make an extraordinary difference to tackling the climate and nature emergencies and create a happier healthier world for young people to prosper.”
The Force for Nature Exhibition in Birmingham took place between 12 June and 23 June and was a showcase of the achievements of more than one million children and young people from around 4,000 schools located across the UK, who have worked with The Tree Council’s Force for Nature campaign.
The exhibition kicked off with a week’s residency at Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens, which culminated in this year’s live Force for Nature Festival, watched online by more than 60 schools nationwide, with performances by Benjamin Haycock and world-renowned artist, Rachel Gadsden. It then moved to The Big Bang Fair at Birmingham NEC, The UK’s biggest celebration of STEM for young people, where it was hosted by Tree Council partner Network Rail.
One visitor to Birmingham Botanical Gardens, a local member of the Rastafari community, said that the exhibition was ‘mindblowing’ and that she was leaving it ‘emotionally affected’ and needing to learn more about what she’d seen so that she could share it within her community.
We are extremely grateful to our partner M&G plc, who generously support our Young Tree Champions programme for schools.