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The Forest for Change

In June we invited students from schools across London to explore the Forest for change. Here are some of their reflections.

On Tuesday 22nd June 2021, six children (including myself) went to Somerset house to see the ‘Forest for Change’. Within the forest, were 17 large mirrored pillars showing the UN Global Goals. We met Philip Jaffa, the forest architect who designed the Forest for Change. After we had a tour of this fascinating forest, we all got to draw parts of the forest from our point of view. I paired up with my friend and we drew the little grey mushrooms, a Norway Maple tree, ferns plus pink and yellow leaves. Each pillar in the forest had a quote from an influential person, including Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough, Michelle Obama and Nelson Mandela. Around the forest were rocks with people’s global requests for the UN. If I had a goal, it would be for there to be fewer starving children in the world.

Keti, Hugh Myddelton School

On Tuesday 22nd June 2021, myself and five other classmates ventured to Somerset House where we had a leisurely stroll to the mesmerising Forest for Change.  We admired the 400 trees and the 17 Global Goal pillars which promise a better future for generations to come. After we explored the wondrous forest, we met the forest architect, Philip Jaffa, and Lucy who represented Islington Clean Air Parents. Then we felt the wonderful leaves and the different, unique textures of each of them. Scattered around the calming atmosphere there were hidden stones which had a global goal written on them. In the centre of the forest, seventeen Global Goal pillars stood tall and proud, each as crucial as the other with inspirational quotes from Nelson Mandela to Greta Thunberg inscribed onto them. When we finished reading the goals, we drew beautiful sketches of the forest. We feel so lucky that some of the trees we saw that day are coming to our school. Going there has taught me the beauty of trees and nature.

Ipar, Hugh Myddelton School

On Tuesday 22nd June 2021, my classmates and I took a stroll through London to Somerset House to see the Forest for Change. We met some really nice and inspirational people there as well as Philip Jaffa (the forest architect) who told us about his inspiration to bring together the trees into one big, majestic and mind-blowing forest. We got to walk around the forest and feel the different textures of the bark and leaves. My personal favourite was the hazel birch tree. Within the forest, there was a mesmerising inner circle with 17 global goals inscribed onto mirrored pillars. Each pillar had a goal which explained facts about that goal as well as a quote from an inspirational person.  Figures included Nelson Mandela, Michelle Obama, Helen Keller and Greta Thunberg. My favourite quote was, “Many live without love but no-one without water.” There were 16 goals in total and the last pillar was for us to make our own goal. My global goal would be for there to be peace in the world and to stop violence everywhere

Dalya, Hugh Myddelton School

It is such a delight to go on trips again and immerse ourselves into the best that London has to offer.  We had an amazing experience at the Somerset House at the “Forest for Change” project. Within Somerset house it has always been prohibited to grow trees as part of an exhibition. This year as part of the Somerset House “Biennale” exhibition; Es Devlin decided to challenge this rule. He chose to bring a forest to the city to help us reflect upon their value to the globe. From our visit we reflected upon the legacy of forests and their role in the fight against climate change. We learnt about the importance of flora for our ecosystem and its positive impact on our environment. In fact, the “forest architect” shared with us that 30 “forests” the size of the exhibition would equate to enough carbon capture to remedy 300 flights to Australia. Whilst the range of trees on exhibition each serve a purpose within a coniferous climate. The floral diversity that we saw was fascinating and the experience made me ponder about the intricate relationships between each living being on our planet.

I enjoyed getting lost within the forest and exploring the odors of pine, the warmth of the red filbert hazel and the texture of the sequoia. I quietly relished the gentle time to myself to draw and reflect in nature. I reflected upon which of the trees around me will be present in Southwark when I am an old man.

Morisi, Harris Academy Peckham


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