Residents across Bath are being encouraged to get involved with a writing competition to promote an upcoming event, the Sydney Gardens Tree Weekender.
The Tree Weekender, on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th November, will celebrate the National Lottery Heritage funded restoration of the park and the dozens of trees and associated ecosystems.
There will be two days of online and on-the-ground activities and events including tree meditation, guided tree walks and family arts and crafts activities.
In the run-up to the event, residents are invited to get creative on the theme of ‘trees in parks and public gardens’ and write a poem or a story in less than 250 words to express their feelings, love or respect for the trees.
ReThinking Cities, the organisation behind the Urban Tree Festival and other public projects, is working with the Sydney Gardens project team on the Tree Weekender.
They are challenging writers to tell them about the trees that grow near to where they live and what value they bring to the neighbourhood, or to write about how the trees came to be there, where they originated, how they are cared for and managed, or the history throughout their lives.
Councillor Jess David, Member Advocate for Biodiversity, said: “We know how special trees are and how important it is to have trees in parks and gardens close to where we live.
“The Tree Weekender will allow us to celebrate some of the wonderful trees in the park some of which were planted shortly after the park opened in 1795.
“We want to involve as many people as possible in the writing competition, so even if you have never been to Bath or Sydney Gardens you can write a story about a tree in a park or a public garden near you.
“It’s an excellent way to celebrate the importance of trees in our lives, not only in helping to address climate change and improving the area for biodiversity but the positive impact they have on us in terms of health and mental wellbeing.”
Volunteer judges will select poems and stories to be published on the website ahead of the Sydney Gardens Tree Weekender.
Students from Bath Spa University will record the stories and have plans to digitally geo-locate them in the gardens and surrounding streets.
Shortlisted authors will be invited to join an exclusive nature writing online roundtable on Saturday 27th November and given the opportunity to read their work during the finale of the event on Sunday 28th November.
The judges include poet and non-fiction writer, Samantha Walton, a lecturer at Bath Spa University and Nigel Bristow, a screenwriter, director and visual artist who runs the MA in Directing Fiction at Goldsmiths University of London.
They will be joined by Charlotte Smith from the council’s Parks and Trees service and Andrew Stuck the coordinator of the Sydney Gardens Tree Weekender.
The winners in both the poetry and prose categories will receive a £50 Book Token and, together with the runners up, an artwork to illustrate their poem or story created by Alban Low.
There will also be an artwork prize for the best poem and story submitted by a B&NES resident.
The competition is free to enter but limited to two submissions per person. Entries should be emailed to [email protected]
The competition closes on Monday 1st November, or when the judges receive 125 submissions.
Full details can be found on the website.
The Sydney Gardens Tree Weekender writing competition is being run by Rethinking Cities Ltd / Museum of Walking on behalf Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The full programme for the Tree Weekender will be announced in November. Most events will be free, but events that have limited capacity will require advance booking.