Sep 23 2020

It’s time to get creative – enter our competitions!

Many of us have had more time to get closer to nature of late, with our lives slowing down in these strange pandemic days.


Speaking to friends and colleagues it feels as if people have developed heightened senses…a sharper prism through which to view nature – that pattern on a butterfly’s wing, the intricate seeds on a newly identified species of grass, the freshly baked cake smell of meadowsweet, the varied calls of the blackbird – we all seem to be experiencing so much more.


Hopefully you too have had breathing space to look and ponder the evocative beauty of woodlands, and so we thought this would be wonderful time for you to express some of that in the form of poetry and photography.


We’re very excited to have set up a seasonal haiku and photography competition for all volunteers across the UK!


Entries for this first, autumn, competition by November 27th 2020. There are prizes for the winners and the best entries will appear on Whittle and on Woodland Trust Social media.


Theme for this first season of our competitions:


Haiku: write a haiku about the oak tree
Photography: submit a photograph that for you captures the spirit of autumn in woodlands



For those of you who don’t know, a Haiku is a Japanese poetry form. A haiku uses just a few words to capture a moment and create a picture in the reader’s mind. It is like a tiny window into a scene much larger than itself. 


The format of a haiku is precise – they must be written in three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line.


The following are typical of haiku:

  • A focus on nature.
  • A “season word” such as “snow” which tells the reader what time of year it is.
  • A division somewhere in the poem, which focuses first on one thing, than on another. The relationship between these two parts is sometimes surprising.
  • Instead of saying how a scene makes him or her feel, the poet shows the details that caused that emotion. If the sight of an empty winter sky made the poet feel lonely, describing that sky can give the same feeling to the reader.


Here’s an example:


The last winter leaves
Clinging to the black branches
Explode into birds


So how do you enter the competitions?


If you’d like to enter please submit your photography and haiku entries to your Volunteering Development Officer by email by Friday November 27th. The directors of each of our 7 countries and regions of the UK will the judge the winners in their area, and then an overall UK winner will be chosen from the 7 winners.


Please only submit one photograph and one haiku per person. 


Make sure that you only submit photos that you have taken yourself and for which you are happy for us to use in an unlimited way in our Woodland Trust communications.  Full terms and conditions apply for each competition and you can see them here in our Whittle library.


There’ll be prizes for all the winners and the winning poems and photos as well as some of the runners up will be shared on Whittle and on Woodland Trust Social media.   


Good luck and we are really looking forward to seeing all the entries.  Our plan is to repeat the competition each season.


Best wishes,


The Volunteering Development Officers and the National Volunteering Team








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