And you don't have to be a treehugger to enjoy it...
The benefits that nature has on physical and mental health have long been known, but these can't always be found slap bang in the city centre. That’s why The University of Manchester has found an easier way for staff, students and the local community to enjoy the Great Outdoors with its latest initiative: an interactive Tree Trail.
This is one of several environmental projects at UoM, which has been officially recognised as the world’s first carbon-literate university. Developed by the university’s environmental sustainability team, in conjunction with Urban Green consultancy and City of Trees - who aim to plant a tree for every Greater Manchester resident, within a generation - the new web app has been designed to help users learn something new about the trees they may see every day, and can be used by anyone with a smartphone or handheld device.
Highlighting 50 of the 1,500 trees spread across Oxford Road Campus, North Campus and Whitworth Park over three distinct trails, the initiative is part of the University’s ‘world-class’ Campus Masterplan: a ten-year scheme whose other ‘greening’ projects include Brunswick Park in the campus’ centre, as well as a new biodiverse landscaping scheme.
Facts on the Tree Trail app range from why the Romans planted walnuts, to which animals enjoy nibbling crab apples and why English oak was prized as ship-building material until the mid-nineteenth century. As well as informing users, it also encourages them to share their own tree photos on Instagram via a dedicated account (@uomsust) using a hashtag for each tree.
Scott Fitzgerald, Managing Director at Urban Green, said: “People have a very personal relationship with the trees that they see each day. We want people to use the Tree Trail to feel a sense of ownership – the trees on campus are ‘their trees’ and we look forward to seeing the Tree Trail grow as people share their own photography and comments.
“We hope the Tree Trail is both educational but also helps foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of some of Manchester’s many amazing trees."
Visit the Tree Trail website to take part