As shoppers tie themselves in knots trying to decide what to buy people this festive season, Northumberland Wildlife Trust has come up with an alternative gift idea for people who want to splash the cash, not just at Christmas, but throughout the whole year.
The wildlife charity has installed an elegantly-sculpted Giving Tree at its Wildlife Discovery Centre, at Hauxley Nature Reserve, which it hopes will flourish in support of its conservation work around the region.
It is hoped that people with a love for nature will purchase a leaf to remember a special person no longer with them, mark a special occasion or just as an alternative to buying something from the high street or online, with a beautiful gold, silver or bronze leaf inscribed with an individual message.
The leaf is then attached to the tree and the more leaves it sports, the more beautiful it will become.
Talking about the tree, Alex Lister, Druridge Bay living landscapes manager, said: “What do you buy the person who has everything or who doesn’t like the commercialism of Christmas?
“Well, the answer is a leaf on our Giving Tree. It’s also a wonderful way to remember a loved one or special person who is no longer around and lasts much longer than a perfume set or box of chocolates.”
To find out more, visit www.nwt.org.uk/givingtree
The installation of the tree comes at the end of what has been a busy year at Hauxley Nature Reserve.
In June, Simon King OBE, who specialises in nature documentaries, officially opened the new Wildlife Discovery Centre.
The reserve’s previous building was damaged in an arson attack in 2010.
In the autumn, we reported that the state-of-the-art centre had a record-breaking first three months since throwing open its doors.
And it’s not just humans who are enjoying the reserve, with a large number of birds spotted since it reopened in the summer.
Visitors have had great views of some of the site’s migrating waders and waterfowl, including ruff and black-tailed godwits.