The Boomwachters Groningen (Tree Guardians) is an association (stichting) and a related group of volunteers which work together with the shared goal of stimulating sustainable tree policies and maintenance in both the urban forest and in the provincial region of Groningen at large. Our goal is to create and spread more knowledge about the value of trees so that people and politicians alike are more alert to the important benefits that trees provide in everyday life, for the local biodiversity, for the environment, for our health and well-being, and for a sustainable economy.
Our goal of expanding and preserving existing trees, and protecting the larger ecosystem which is dependent upon them, determines the kinds of activities that we organize. These range from grass-roots activism such as “Let Trees Grow Old” or “No Tree for Biomass” rallies, to meetings with bureaucrats and politicians to discuss ideas for new policy and tree care. We also organize volunteer initiates to inventory trees in local neighborhoods and parks. Our ideas are driven by knowledge and study of the latest science from the international field of urban forestry which position trees as important sources for maintaining healthy environments, for fighting climate change, for absorbing pollutants, and for supporting local wildlife. This knowledge informs the discussions we initiate with policy leaders, green workers, politicians, and tree experts as well as with local residents of Groningen.
Some of these activities include organizing critical actions and protests to draw attention to trees under pressure for removal for large-scale building projects. We also organize educational outings to learn about trees and their values in various regions. We sponsor lectures (in English and Dutch) with tree and urban forestry experts locally and from abroad such as Cobra Groen and iTree experts. We coordinate letter writing campaigns to lobby for better tree pruning, protection, and care. We spread knowledge about such activities and trees in general through social media. We speak at the local municipal council meetings on particular issues related to trees from biomass to large-scale infrastructure projects. We collect and document tree fellings as well as tree pruning activities (good and bad) in the municipality. And finally we regularly meet with project leaders and developers to provide ideas about building with and around trees for nature inclusive architecture.
Ultimately we aim to act as a hub for all of those concerned and interested in improving the standing of trees in the local environment for a more livable, sustainable, bio-diverse and healthy present and future, not just for humans but for the variety of animals and plants with which we share this municipality.