What has been so exciting about the LITTLE FIR TREE PROJECT is that it has the potential to engage the whole community so that together we can really make a difference.
THE ISLINGTON COUNCIL has shown great interest, and councillors and officers from various departments have been keen to promote – what is being offered. We were delighted to welcome Councilor Rowena Champion, who is the chair of Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee along to one of our ‘Tree Awareness’ workshops this Autumn so she could to see how the Islington Primary school children responded to hearing all about their neighborhood trees.
We’ve also been given sound advice from James Rice from the Woodland Trust who has helped us get the message across. Here’s what he says:
“Trees are a public asset and belong to all of us, so it's up to all of us us to make sure they're recognised and valued. The Little Fir Tree Project will do just that, teaching the next generation of their value and worth.”
Our ‘Tree Awareness Workshops’ covered topics such as identifying and describing the functions of different parts of trees and what trees actually need to grow and of course the very important point of how trees act to counter pollution. Which, by the way happens to work very well with the Year Three science curriculum.
During the two hour workshops, the youngsters spent an hour in Thornhill Park identifying the different trees, learning how they grow and how they help to clean our air and help us breathe more easily. Then they went on a nature trail through the park, finding things for themselves, before heading inside the RIGPA Centre for a hot chocolate and to hear a preview of the music and from the show and to ask more questions about trees.
When it came to talking about seasonal changes in trees of course that’s when LITTLE FIR TREE came into his own ...after all he is an ‘evergreen’!
We also try to support the disadvantaged schools by offering them free tickets to see the show, when it is on, if their timetable will allow.
By offering a combination of a Theatre concert, an outdoor nature and environmental learning experience and a possibly even a tree planting session if the schools take up the Woodland Trust offer is making the LITTLE FIR TREE PROJECT a memorable experience for everyone involved.
For some children brought up in an urban environment, the first tree that they are likely to have any emotional connection with could be one that comes into their home or school, perhaps at Christmas.
LITTLE FIR TREE is a new feel-good family musical, aimed at the same demographic as ‘The Snowman’.
While entertainment is the first priority for this show, there are also lessons to be learned from its story. The situations that Little Tree encounters parallel those of every child, and his adventures show the power of friendship and loyalty – especially the importance of never giving up.
LITTLE FIR TREE also reminds us of the value in preserving our woodland areas for the future well-being of the planet. Little Tree, for example, is not chopped down and disposed of at the end of the story (as in the original) but dug up and replanted as a symbol of growth.
Using the concert premiere of the show as a platform has allowed us to build a series of workshops and events which not only support and celebrate the important elements in the story, but also the importance of trees in our cities.
We believe that we have a chance with this show to deepen the emotional connection children may have with trees. We also hope to inspire the wider values of preserving woodlands for future generations. Our ability to do this is greatly enhanced by the support of The Woodland Trust.
The LITTLE FIR TREE PROJECT creates a bridge between music, theatre and the arts, and the environment. Together with the Musical, the Project opens a door to a magical world of trees which children, especially those in an urban environment, might not even know exists’