Standing in her garden gazing up at her favourite magnolia tree, supermodel Erin O’Connor could be posing for a magazine cover.
Yet her day job is far from her mind as she explains why she loves this tree.
Looking as tall and beautiful as the leafy subject of her attentions, she explains that this tree serves as a constant reminder of nature’s beauty and her childhood.
A model in every sense of the word, Erin doesn’t take the natural world for granted.
Today, the 32-year-old is here to chat about her support for a tree-planting project.
Sponsored by tissue company Velvet, the Campaign for Trees intends to donate £20,000 towards tree-planting projects in urban Britain.
“As a kid, I took my landscape for granted. When we played football, the trees played goalpost, and the big old oak on the hill served as the focal point of all our childhood and teenage congregations,” explains the model.
“What worries me is that I’m not sure the next generation will be lucky enough to have that [kind of experience], as increasing numbers of us are living in urban environments.”
According to the charity Trees for Cities, which will be managing the tree-planting project, trees in urban environments can help improve citizens’ health, save energy, lower crime, increase the amount of oxygen and encourage biodiversity.
Those who want trees to be planted in their local area can vote online, by visiting: www.velvettissue.com/campaign-for-trees.
“There is a real need to educate people on how trees benefit us all, as they provide the air we all breathe,” Erin adds.
According to research by the campaign’s organisers, one-fifth of people don’t realise that trees provide oxygen, and another third are unable to identify the UK’s most iconic tree, the British Oak.
Now living across two urban jungles – dividing her time between New York and London – Erin says living greenly is something she’s learned how to do over time – and that she’s constantly “humbled by what [she] doesn’t know”.
“I ride my bike around town and also take care how I travel – and fly much less than I used to if I can help it,” she says.
“But if I do then I use a brilliant initiative, TreeFlight.com, which plants a tree every time I fly. And when I walk up to Sainsbury’s for the weekly shop, I use my canvas bag and just try to do the right thing.”
She continues: I won't pretend for a minute that I live on an eco farm, but I do try to take small steps. We’re so constantly bombarded by information that it can sometimes feel quite alienating to do what's ‘right’, but there's no reason I shouldn’t do what I can to help.”
For more information about the Campaign for Trees, or to nominate a local area to benefit from tree planting, visit www.velvettissue.com or go to www.treesforcities.org.