I admit it, the name lured me in. Do you want to be part of Special Branch? Yes, yes I do. So here we are at the start of a whole new adventure.
This summer I put down a number of volunteering things I’d been doing, because they weren’t working – all kinds of reasons. Volunteering is like any relationship; you rock up all shiny eyed and excited at the beginning. Sometimes you fall out of love with them. Sometimes you change, they change, you grow apart, your needs change, their ideas… sometimes there are personality clashes. And that’s fine, because it’s human and real and it can be gently put down and life goes on.
Service is important to me. Volunteering has always been a part of my life. Not volunteering hasn’t felt good, although I needed time to draw breath and figure out how to move forward, with so many things going so wrong in so many ways, it’s overwhelming. Conscious that I can’t wade into every fight, I’ve been looking for a place to stand that makes sense to me.
I’ve been a member of The Woodland Trust for something like a decade. It’s been a happy relationship. I give them money, they send me a nice magazine, and every now and then they win something, a wood is saved, land is bought and allowed to regenerate… and I feel good about being a tiny part of that. So, when they announced the idea of Special Branch, I got rather excited. What they were looking for are people willing to campaign online. But it gets better, because what we’re talking about here is soft campaigning.
I’ve done a few turns at harder activism. The sort of work where you go in and fight your corner, and push, and protest. It burns me out emotionally. I expect I’ll keep doing bits and pieces of that when it’s needed, but I can’t live there. Soft activism, by contrast, deeply attracts me. It’s about building ideas and getting people engaged. It’s about stories, and, for these purposes, connecting people with trees.
And really, if as a Druid I wasn’t a bit excited by the idea of trying to softly engage people with trees via stories and other forms of creativity, something would be wrong!
One of the consequences of this, is that I will add more tree related content to the blog. I’m always looking for new threads of ideas to explore, and this should be a very natural match for the other things I get up to. Turning my love of trees into something that can serve the trees seems like a very sustainable way forward for me. It will not solve all the world’s ills, but I firmly believe that a culture that is considerate of its trees will likely also do a better job of taking care of its people, so, here we go…
Tempted to follow suit? there are loads of ways to get involved, more information here – http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer-with-us/