This week I’m delivering the 3 paintings on this blog to the Cric Gallery, in Crickhowell, near the Brecon Beacons in Monmouthshire, for the Winter/Christmas exhibition.
‘Yew and well 5’ watercolour painting by Janis Fry
I’ve been quietly recovering from the Campaign for Legal Protection of Ancient Yews and the Tree Conference at Frome, writing yew articles and wondering where we go next with the petition.
I have to say the Tree Conference was one of the most dynamic, innovative, inspirational and hopeful events I have ever had the honour to take part in! Well done Suzy Martineau who organised it. In amongst all the devastating challenge of climate change and extinction, trees obviously make a huge difference and the conference highlighted lots of wonderful people who are reforesting and helping to change the climate in the right direction. Andy Egan of the International Tree Foundation along with Teresa Gitonga of Kenya, who helped communities plant 20 million trees, showed how planting trees, changed the local climate, brought back the rains and enabled crops to grow once again while Isabella Tree, talked about her book, ‘Wilding’, and her experience of returning a 200 acre farm, which would grow no crops due to intensive farming, to Nature to restore the land to health. In the process bio diversity increased massively and rare plants, insects, animals and birds returned.
‘The Owl’ monoprint with watercolour painting by Janis Fry
Meanwhile on the advise of Paul, our Barrister for the Campaign for Legal Protection of Ancient Yews, I got together a coalition of politicians, people from the church, arboriculturalists, tree writers, landowners and other interested parties, to oversee the petition of 10,800 signatures gained in 30 days, going to Parliament.
4,000 year old ancient yew at Linton
BUT… having learnt from the Tree Council that they have spent 23 years trying to get legal protection for ancient yews and the Woodlands Trust who warned me it could take decades more, as some people are not working with us, Paul and I have decided to widen the campaign to draw in others who can advise on the best way to translate the campaign into political action. The project will be announced shortly but basically on a mutually convenient weekend, we will take you on a tour of the oldest and most magnificent yews in England and Wales. I, (one of the UK’s foremost specialists in ancient yew trees) will talk to you of their history, mythology and botany and Paul will tell you about the legal protection of trees. We will sort out transport, accommodation and food and at the end of the weekend, you will get a signed copy of my book, ‘The God Tree’, to take away. How’s that?
What we ask in return is that, hopefully inspired by wonder at these ancient trees, you will give us 10-15 hours of your time and skills (at your convenience) to help us campaign for proper legal protection for ancient yew trees, so that future generations can continue to marvel at them.
‘The Templar Font’ watercolour painting by Janis Fry.
Watch this space and my Facebook page for the official announcement of our project!