Well as we ponder over the last year and look forward to 2020, BTfL has a lot to be thankful for. By March 2020 we will have planted 95,000 trees in Birmingham. That is a number we are very proud of and over 14-years that’s approximately 7000 trees a year!
We are passionate about trees and the environment and now is an exciting time to be part of a tree charity. Because while every political party has been talking about trees, how important they are, how we need to plant more, we have been planting trees in parks and open spaces across Birmingham and we’re not going to stop any time soon.
But it’s not just about planting trees, it’s about involving the great people of Birmingham in everything we do. Whether you are a school, community group, volunteer, stakeholder, sponsor or Dendrophile, (lover of trees) we embrace and celebrate your support. Children and adults have planted trees with us in the sunshine and in the pouring rain and not even the worst weather dampens their spirits or ours because we and they understand that every tree planted is a legacy, helping save the environment – one tree at a time. When we plant a tree, we feel a sense of empowerment, of ownership, of humility – it’s therapy!
And as the trees, we have planted continue to grow, so does BTfL as does our wonderful relationship with the people and the city of Birmingham. It’s been a very busy year and we wanted to share some of our wonderful highlights with you.
As the season 2018- 2019 started the weather was kind- ish, but we won’t let rain, or snow put us off. We were pleased to return to the inner-city constituency of Ladywood as part of our three-year HS2 Community Fund, (CEF) funded project. Finding inner city sites for tree planting isn’t easy, but here at BTfL we always rise the challenge and three site have benefited from tree planting with 1km of the HS2 route. These sites and trees planted are vital for the air quality, the health and wellbeing of local-residents.
We continue to celebrate our relationship with Deutsche Bank, Birmingham and they continue to be our Tree Champions, attending four events planting trees with us and we are grateful to them as well as our other sponsors and Partners, Birmingham City Council including the Woodland Trust, Groundwork, Eversheds Sutherland, Waitrose, Barcham, the Tree Specialists, Heritage Lottery Fund, Birmingham Open Space Forum, HSBC UK, The Wildlife Trust, the Tree Council and Tree Design Action Group. Not to mention the Parks Department, all our wonderful volunteers and Friend of Parks who continue to provide amazing support to BTfL.
We enjoyed some wonderful summer events, led by the Haplin Trust for our River Cole project working with children in the classroom, celebrating trees through writing and poetry working with our amazing artist in residence, Poet and children’s author Mandy Ross and we will continue these summer workshops through to next year. We had a truly wonderful day at the, Return to Nature Festival a Holders Lane Woods, Moseley an eco-festival, a woodland celebration of the natural world organised by Forward Arts.
But while enjoying these Summer celebrations we also said a sad farewell to Jane Edwards who has worked in our School and Community Liaison role for ten years. Jane had been an amazing passionately driven member of our team who specialised in organising our tree planting event with school children and local community groups. Jane has enabled 1000’s of teachers’ and school children to enjoy tree planting, often for the first time. We thank Jane for her dedication, tenacity and having the ability to help everyone she met enjoy and celebrate tree planting at every single event. We wish Jane a wonderfully happy retirement.
Our largest tree planting to date was at Perry Common Recreation Ground where a record 153 children from three different schools planted a new woodland in a recently re-landscaped park. Thankfully Deutsche Bank, Birmingham and Birmingham University, as well as teachers and parents to help us with this excited and enthusiastic large group. It was wonderful to see so many happy faces, spade in hand proudly planting trees – together.
Our first planting of season 2019/2020 saw our work being showcased by Central News. It was an amazing morning with us working with World’s End Infant’s School in Quinton at Tennal Lane Recreation Ground. Central News gave us quite the feature on their 6pm slot, it was a chance to shout out about trees and get all viewers thinking about what we do.
As we look forward to the second phase of planting this season which will begin in January 2020 we celebrate that over 6200 adults, nearly 6400 children have planted trees at over 300 sites in Birmingham since 2006.
We believe that so many people in Birmingham have been part of the BTfL legacy it’s like six degrees of separation – you might not have planted a tree with us yet, but you probably know someone that has! And if you haven’t planted a tree with BTfL yet, you can always plant a tree of your own. You see here at BTfL we live and work by the mantra – ask what you can do – pledge to plant a tree or two!
And to borrow a well-worn anthropological dictum, ‘trees are not simply good to climb, they are good to think. Much of their wood is fuel for metaphorical fires.’ (Douglas Davies, The evocative symbolism of trees)
A huge thank you to every one who has been part of the BTfl Legacy this year. We look forward to planting more trees with more people in Birmingham and celebrating every hole dug and every tree planted. And always remember that even if it takes a while to realise – trees are your’s and nature’s best friend! Please check out our highlights of 2018/19 phot album here