A perfect description of Laman Street by an arborist

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‘So the scientific word is out – nearby trees and urban forest are important for community health benefits. You don’t have to wait for the next long weekend or holiday to take a healthy break from the grind – find a tree-lined avenue that passes by a treed park, other natural area or treed gardens and experience the calming benefits of nearby nature. You don’t have to walk at a furious pace either; in fact it is better for your mental well-being if you dawdle, which is the slow, mindful pace of walking meditation, and is the proper pace for feeling free to look around.

                                                                                                                           ‘This is the pace when the trance of looking and noticing can overtake your errand, your small sense of self-importance; and this is the pace in which the inventory of loved things has a chance to grow. If you are blessed with regular contact with young children you may have noticed, perhaps to your irritation, that this is the pace of young children because they are engrossed in a world that adults have long forgotten. Dawdling is the pilgrim’s wisdom.

‘Unfortunately, many of us don’t have beautiful tree-lined avenues and tree-studded parks close by that we can dawdle amongst. But given the research findings on the health benefits of trees, it’s worth thinking about how to make our children’s immediate locality more healthy and walkable, prehaps by planting and protecting trees or by lobbying civic leaders for more trees and greater tree space, In the meantime, happy dawdling!’

The italics and emphasis are mine.

This is from Philip Hewett, the chief arborist for Newcastle City Council.It’s from a two-part  article called Nearby Nature available on the website of the Local Government Tree Resources Association http://www.lgtra.com/urban-forest/1-news/3-nearby-nature-part-1-of-2.html

It’s lovely. It puts into words the way many of us feel about large trees in general and Laman Street in particular. To be completely open, he does talk in the article about how our veteran trees require replacement – I would still like to see the evidence for this and think there’s a real absence of creative thinking about how else to manage old trees rather than just fell them.

Mindfulness, if you haven’t come across it, is an approach to heaps of stuff that is really useful – have fun looking it up.

You would think the residents who are against ripping out the Laman Street figs had a  mole planted in Council from reading Mr Hewett’s words.

When you walk along the street you’re aware of the wind in the leaves, the amazing tree roots, the shade provided by the trees and the sun shining through them, the leaves on the ground, the graffitied trunks, the huge branches reaching for sunlight, and, if it’s the right time of day, the birds or fruit bats who depend on them. Sadly now you can’t avoid thinking about the threat to the future of the street.

One thing I’ve often felt is pride in Newcastle and something I never feel is a risk to my safety.

Take a walk along it and think about how we can convince Council that this street is too important to Newcastle to lose. We need ways to protect our urban forest heritage, not destroy it.

Mr Hewett says happy dawdling – I say happy activism – or happy emailing your ideas for activism to others!

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