Charity Awards 2024

The Tree Council

Planting the seeds to tackle climate change

The Tree Council is a national charity that brings people together with a shared mission to care for trees and our planet’s future.

Young Tree Champions (YTC) is a programme that supports schools across the UK to embark on impactful, nature-based projects that connect pupils and teachers with trees and nature.

The Tree CouncilMany school tree-planting programmes focus simply on getting trees in the ground. Once the trees are planted, there is no further engagement with teachers or pupils, and no impetus to care for the trees or to connect more widely with the natural world. The Tree Council wanted to create a programme that would leave a long-term legacy and which encompassed equally the wellbeing of pupils, trees and the planet.

YTC was developed in partnership with M&G, who committed to an initial three-year partnership, which has since been extended due to the success of the programme. Initial targets were set, including 240 schools and 100,000 students engaged, and 1,500 trees planted in schools. The Tree Council also developed a unique impact assessment tool with the nature connectedness research team at the University of Derby, to monitor significant behavioural or attitudinal changes in students taking part.

Young Tree Champions has delivered far beyond its original aims, engaging 267,000 young people across the UK at 769 schools since 2020. Over 32,000 trees have been planted and cared for. Some 93% of students that have taken part in YTC now feel more connected to nature, meaning they are more likely to help tackle the climate and biodiversity crises. Additionally, data gathered from 368 participants in 2021 showed a dramatic increase in confidence and empathy upon completion of the workshops, as well as additional life skills and willingness to try new things.

Charity Awards judge Julie Wilson-Dodd, transformation consultant at New Reality Consulting, said the work was well evidenced and had significantly exceeded its targets.

CC Reg no. 279000