ABSTRACT trees created by children and young people from schools across Hampshire are now on display outside Winchester Cathedral.

More than 100 trees have been designed by youngsters are over 25 schools as part of a project to spark a wider conversation about climate change, supported by Hampshire County Council.

The interactive ‘Climate Change Forest’ art installation is adorned with drawings, sculptures, and recyclable and upcycled items such as plastic bottles and reclaimed wood, and can be viewed outside the cathedral until July 5.

Each abstract tree on display has been created by pupils ranging from Year R to Year 11 from schools across Hampshire, and focuses on specific environmental issues pupils have chosen, from deforestation to carbon emissions, rising sea levels, air pollution, animal extinction and plastic production. The installation includes bunting that shares pupils’ written messages and QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone to access further information about each artwork, such as voice clips of pupils sharing their personal messages about climate change.

Cllr Roz Chadd, executive lead member for children’s services, said: “When the county council asked children and young people about their concerns for our county and its future, they told us it was climate change, and that they wanted to be more involved in raising awareness about this important issue and sharing their views. We are proud to have been able to support the voices of these children and young people by helping schools to create their abstract tree over the last year, and I am incredibly impressed with the passion and creativity pupils have shown.”

The Dean of Winchester, the Very Revd Catherine Ogle said: “I am delighted that we are able to showcase this important installation in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral. The artwork is particularly timely as global discussions take place around climate change, as it highlights that we cannot shy away from our responsibilities to care for the planet. We only have this one earthly home and it’s crucial that, as we learn more about the impact of climate change, we all make a commitment to reducing our carbon footprint.”

Cllr Jan Warwick, executive member for climate change and sustainability, added: “We want more people in our communities to be thinking and talking about climate change and it is right that this includes our younger generations, who will lead this work in the future. I hope that Hampshire residents, young and old will visit Winchester Cathedral to see the ‘Climate Change Forest’ and hear what Hampshire’s children and young people have to say.”