The Edinburgh launch of the Trees4TwoNations project recently took place at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).
Two rare trees were planted by Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, and Dana Linnet, the US Consul General.
The two trees, one an Arran Whitebeam representing Scotland and the other a Rock Chestnut Oak representing the United States were planted to represent the deep historical and cultural roots, as well as friendship between the people of Scotland and the United States of America. The purpose of the initiative is to bring about positive change in areas such as 'environmental understanding and co-operation' through a collaborative process. In light of climate change, now more than ever, nations need to work together to try and tackle the environmental and social issues ahead of us for the benefit of future generations.
The Trees4TwoNations initiative takes a multi-tiered approach and also aims to build relationships on a social, cultural and commercial level. At a time when building partnerships abroad are more important than ever when it comes to the economy as well as the environment the project has been given the seal of approval by Secretary Lochhead.
The idea to link cities in the US with those in Scotland, came from a chance meeting and subsequent friendship between a Scotsman, Angus Crabbie, who runs Trees4Scotland, and a native of Tennessee with some obvious Scottish roots, Rob Roy McGregor. The linking of Knoxville, Tennessee with Edinburgh is the start with more cities to follow.
Angus comments: "The support we have had for the launch of Trees4TwoNations has been immense and from many sources including the Scottish Government, American Government, the business community and the public in general. We see this very much as the start of the journey for Trees4Two Nations, and look forward to growing the project over the coming months and years."
The event at RBGE was a big success and follows hot on the heels of the US launch in Knoxville Tennessee.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Scotland and America share many common goals and values, and today is a great opportunity for us to celebrate and build on this for the future. Visiting America at the end of last year, I was struck by the many similarities between our nations.
"In the most recent US Census, nearly 5 million Americans self-reported Scottish ancestry, demonstrating the close relationship between our two nations."
A beautiful plaque that is soon to be unveiled will allow anyone visiting the Garden to be able to share in these sentiments. As RBGE Regius Keeper, Professor Blackmore states: "Trees4Two Nations is a great project that works well on many different levels. It serves to draw attention to the role of botanic gardens on both sides of the Atlantic in planting and conserving rare trees, it reminds us all of the vital role trees play in the global environment and, as a very international organisation, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh enjoys such opportunities for promoting the best of Scotland".