News

More than 125 trees planted at University of Derby as part of Woodland Trust’s pledge

28 January 2022

More than 125 trees have been planted at the University of Derby to the chimes of the Tree Charter Bell as part of the Woodland Trust’s pledge to plant 50 million trees by 2025 and help tackle climate change.

Caroline Locke, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts at the University, led the planting of saplings in green spaces across the University’s Kedleston Road site and enlisted the help of several students and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL (pictured).

People standing near a tree
Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL, Associate Professor Caroline Locke and Fine Art student Tristan Stannard

The project began in December, in connection to National Tree Week, with the planting of Oak, Silverbirch, Hawthorn and Blackthorn saplings and has culminated with the planting of 10 native Rowan trees in the new year. 

Artist and Associate Professor Locke started the Tree Charter Bell project during lockdown in 2020 with funding from the University. She worked with John Taylor Bells in Loughborough to cast a new warning bell, in connection to her sculptures around the frequency of trees and her research relating to the climate emergency.  

The bell was first rung as part of the Woodland Trust's Tree Charter Day Festival in 2020 and now provides a focus for ceremonies around tree planting activities in connection with the Trust. Each time a tree is planted through Caroline’s work, the small tower bell is rung to bring people together for the planting and trigger discussions about nature, historic places and climate change. 

Speaking about the project, Caroline said:

 “I have been working with sound in connection to nature for many years and recently have been exploring possibilities for warning bells in connection to climate change. 

“I have created my own Tree Charter Branch as part of the Woodland Trust campaign for a mass movement of people and trees and I intend to use my Tree Charter Bell as part of tree planting ceremonies for years to come. The work is in its early stages, but I am already noticing how it captures the public’s imagination and people are responding very positively to the idea.” 

Zara Holden, Programme Delivery Lead for the Tree Charter Programme at the Woodland Trust, added: 

“We manage 650 community groups, known as Charter Branches, across the UK to promote local action for woods and trees.  

“Caroline has been a key Tree Charter contact in the East Midlands, forming a Charter Branch group known as Significant Tree Branch. Caroline’s project is such an excellent tool in engaging the wider community in issues facing the UK’s woods and trees today.”  

Find out more about Caroline’s artwork and research here. 

To discover more about The Woodland Trust, visit the website here. 

Silver bell
Tree Charter Bell

For further information contact the Corporate Communications team at pressoffice@derby.ac.uk or call 01332 593953.