Welcome to the bark side! Tree festival helps connect us with nature

While we may have taken Mother Nature for granted pre lockdown, now we’re behind closed doors it seems we’re all missing the great outdoors more than ever.

And for those longing to reconnect with it, the Urban Tree Festival could not have arrived at a better time.

This celebration of all things earthy usually takes place around towns and cities, though with social distancing measures still in place it is now moving online. 

Kickstarting on May 16, there will be a week of activities from talks, virtual walks, a book club, meditation, and yoga sessions led by tree enthusiasts from all over the world. 

Each day, the festival will begin with a ‘Slow Morning’ and the opportunity to meditate or tune into birdsong, before the tours and talks during the afternoon.

While all events are free, organisers do advise that some will need to be pre-booked.

If Glastonbury or Reading Festival are usually more up your street, then maybe some of these items from the programme might tickle your inner adventurer.  

The festival features a talk for artists about ecological intelligence and the creative process; a Sunday nature worship; a street view tour of London’s trees; a discussion on using positive psychology to enhance our experience of nature and wellbeing; and a reading by 20 poets on their urban tree-inspired stories. 

Spending time in nature is known to boost both mental health and physical wellbeing, with positive effects said to improve mood, reduce stress, and help us feel more relaxed.

Mental health charity Mind state that being amongst nature has even been found to help issues such as anxiety and depression.

They say: “Research into ecotherapy (a type of treatment which involves doing activities outside in nature) has shown it can help with mild to moderate depression.

“This might be due to combining regular physical activity and social contact with being outside in nature.

“Being outside in natural light can also be helpful if you experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that affects people during particular seasons.”

For more info, visit Urban Tree Festival.