In my deep dark wood I love to roam
among the trees around my home.
It’s so refreshing, mind restoring.
There’s much to see – it’s never boring.
Please raise a toast to Yorkshire Tea’s
campaign to plant a million trees!
Let’s drink more tea, then we can grow
a lot more trees for the Gruffalo!
“Who is this Gruffalo?” you say.
I’ll introduce him, if I may.
We first met the Gruffalo when our boys were very young. First, we found him lurking in the library picture book boxes. Then, as we grew to love him, the Gruffalo came to stay on our own bookshelves and was soon joined by an audio recording of the book, read by actress, Imelda Staunton, and then subsequently along came The Gruffalo’s Child too. Our boys loved these picture books. They’re wonderfully written by Julia Donaldson, with the text in rhyming couplets that just begs to be read aloud. Axel Scheffler’s fabulous illustrations truly bring the books to life.
Now, the Gruffalo has joined the Woodland Trust and teamed up with Yorkshire Tea to support his beleaguered woodland habitat. Schoolchildren are helping with tree-planting not only here in the UK but also in Kenya, where some of Yorkshire Tea’s tea is grown. One million more trees are to be planted by 2020.
I like a nice cup of Yorkshire Tea myself and I couldn’t resist boxes of teabags incorporating Axel Scheffler’s Gruffalo illustrations. And then I found the Gruffalo was supporting my beloved trees! (I am a bit of a tree-nut, as some of you know 😉 .) If you can, make an excuse to visit woods with children this Spring or Summer – your own, your grandchildren, schoolchildren, any children … and you can find some wonderful activity resources on the Yorkshire Tree website, including how to attract a Gruffalo to your woods.
I hope you’ll join me in drinking #YorkshireTree tea and help the Gruffalo to “stop the wood from disappearing”!
We met Philippe, the Flip-Flop Elephant, on a recent town trip. There he was waiting patiently for us to visit him at his new home in Newcastle’s Great North Museum. He’d travelled a very long way – all the way from Kenya, in fact.
Philippe isn’t called “the Flip-Flop Elephant” because he’s a floppy kind of animal. He’s called “the Flip-Flop Elephant” because he is actually made from old flip-flops – those plastic sandals often worn on sunny beaches.
The company who created Philippe is called Ocean Sole. They are a Kenyan company who specialise in recycling old flip-flops that are washed up on Kenya’s Indian Ocean beaches and waterways. The flip-flops are cleaned, cut up and stuck together into blocks and are then carved into animals, jewellery and other useful objects.
I think this is a fabulous example of upcycling. Through their handcrafted creations Ocean Sole are seeking to teach the world about marine pollution. Ocean Sole are recycling man-made rubbish that is being retrieved from one of the world’s most precious ecosystems, the sea. From time to time we see news stories about plastic being one of the major ocean pollutants, but I never envisaged flip-flops being such a big polluter.
Ocean Sole describe thousands of flip-flops being washed up every year. This huge amount of flip-flops has a serious impact on the wildlife along the Kenyan coast. The company aims to recycle 400,000 flip-flops every year! That is a lot of flip-flops!
Not only are Ocean Sole playing their part in cleaning Kenya’s beaches, the business also provides much-needed jobs for the local community. It is wonderful to learn about a company so passionate about one of our most important ecosystems and community-orientated too.