Education and Public Affairs Events and Competitions

Earth Day 52 Week Challenge

Members across the county are taking part in a 52 week challenge to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day which is on 22 April. The challenge is to cary out a small act to help the environment each week (or month) for a year and to record the actions. It might be to recycle a specific item, litter-pick or pledge to go meat-free for one day a week. Small actions add up to significant results.

Garden Festival Trophy

Thank you to all those WIs who entered the Garden Festival Trophy which was to repurpose a plastic milk bottle. Congratulations to the winners who are:

1st Broughton WI with a lamp, 2nd Lichfield Evening WI with a bug house and 3rd Acton Trussell WI with an ornamental owl.

The Future of Trees & Leaves 

We know that the Climate Emergency is said to be the greatest threat to the planet and we are looking to science as the way to avert disaster. But did you know that important science is happening right here in Staffordshire to help with the understanding of how trees will react to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

The Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) near Norbury Junction is a world-leading centre on how climate change and new invasive pests and diseases will have on forests, a major source of carbon capture and storage.

Ladies from Women’s Institutes across Staffordshire were given a guided tour of the facility this month by Deanne Brettle, a member of the Birmingham University’s Team that runs the facility and their experiments which are conducted at Mill Haft. Mature trees are subjected to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide and data is collected from every aspect of the forest environment  – photosynthesis, tree growth, leaf litter, soil microbes, plants, fungi, insects and wildlife. In fact everything  is monitored and scrutinised – under controlled conditions which is some feat given that it is in a natural forest. 

The visit was organised by the Staffordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes Education & Public Affairs Committee. Chairman Karen Sulway summed up the visit as a fascinating insight into the complex subject of how trees and their leaves will evolve and impact on other facets of the environment. It brought home to the group how everything is intertwined and how every action has many effects.  

The BIFoR facility opened in 2017 and will operate for 10 years. Early indications show that trees can adapt to increased carbon dioxide, at least in the short term.

Federation Quiz—What a fabulous evening with WIs taking part from all over the County and enjoying one of the first major events since lockdown.

The theme for the evening was Celebrating the NHS and Key Workers and ladies entered into the spirit by coming dressed as patients, doctors, nurses and hospital    cleaners. Teams decorated their tables in keeping with the theme with rainbows and  blue and white balloons in abundance.

Congratulations go to the winners, Rolleston on Dove WI with a three-way tie for second place—Acton Trussell, Canwell WI and Colton WI.

The Best Dressed table award was won by Brocton WI.