Goodbye Jane – thank you and good luck!

76170 trees planted!

Working with 9500 volunteers!

Overseeing 300 tree planting events!

Not everyone can boast numbers like that and we wouldn’t normally publicise Jane’s vital statistics – but these are Jane’s BTfL vital statistics and are quite amazing!

   

Jane Harding has worked as Project Manager and dedicated tree hugger at BTfL for the last 12-years and it’s a wonderful legacy Jane should be proud of.

Jane’s hard work and passion for trees will live on for decades to come as we enjoy all the trees Jane has been involved with planting. If you live in Birmingham and you use your park we can guarantee that you will pass trees, sit under trees and enjoy trees that Jane has helped plant.

Jane’s passion for trees is a driving force that has seen Jane knee deep in mud, fighting off  gale force winds and battling through snow blizzards! But no one said this was a glamorous role. Rewarding, insightful, fun, dynamic, energetic and holistic are just a few of the things this role brings with it and working for a project like BTfL needs organisation, creativity, reliability and a sense of humour – all of which Jane has in bucket loads.

Jane has put her heart and soul into her role as Project Manager at BTfL and it’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye as Jane takes early retirement and goes on to pastures new. No doubt those pastures will be full of trees!

Here are a few words from Jane: ‘Over the years this role has seen me be a planter, teacher, writer, ‘sheep dog’, organiser, bookkeeper, photographer, spokeswoman, campaigner and minute taker, to name but a few, all in the name of trees.

‘Working with BTFL has always presented plenty of variety – not least in the unpredictable weather! Planting in the winter, when the trees are dormant, means working in bright sunshine, pouring rain, freezing sleet and falling snow, knee deep in mud or trying to dig rock hard ground. Never let it be said that we tree planters are not a hardy breed! ‘Running around on site keeping an eye on how our schoolchildren and adult volunteers are doing has certainly kept me fit! There have been many highlights over the years; herding 153 children at Perry Common Rec.

 

‘So many of the children we meet have a good knowledge of what trees do for us and why they matter, so I leave BTFL hoping that my small contribution in helping them get first-hand experience of planting trees will stand them in good stead as future custodians of our planet. I will certainly miss seeing the children’s excitement, which never fails to warm the heart at our events.

‘Building a long-term relationship with Deutsche Bank Birmingham’s Green Team, launching the partnership with the Woodland Trust at Cofton with over 150 volunteer planters, working with a great team, and being a part of the drive to make trees a central strand of Birmingham’s strategy to create a liveable city. It has been particularly satisfying to plant trees in some of the more barren areas of the city, and to give so many children (and grown-ups!) the opportunity to experience the joys of trees and nature.

   

‘It’s a lovely thing to show someone how to plant a tree for the first time and see them take so much pleasure in it. I hope I leave behind just a small contribution to the city which has been my home for 35 years, my ‘green legacy’, which will have an impact for many more years to come. It’s been fun, and very rewarding, and I shall miss it all! Bye!

 

Jane’s drive, dedication and vision, not to mention her smiles and warmth will be sadly missed and here are some good luck messages celebrating Jane’s legacy at BTfL.

Our Chairman Geoff Cole says: ‘We say goodbye to our Project Manager, Jane Harding this summer. Jane has been with us for 12 years, with 8 of those years as Project Manager. She has been the “backbone” of BTFL during her time, quietly and efficiently managing the project and keeping us all in order. We hope she is immensely proud of her achievements,

and in recognition of her outstanding service, The Birmingham Civic Society, which we are all part of, has announced Jane will be presented with their Silver Medal at the Society’s AGM later in the year; well deserved. We all wish you well in your ‘retirement’ Jane, and hopefully from time to time you may pop back to help us plant a few more trees.”

 Jane Edwards former Schools Liaison role says: “This photo is my favourite with Jane and was taken at Lickey Hills. I must say; Jane was a joy to work with and I hope I can now count her as a lifelong friend! Her work ethic was bang on, as she made it clear what she wanted you to do and then left you to get on with it. She responded to e mails and messages quickly to avoid you having to guess what was required. All in all, a great boss! On a personal level, she is always friendly and never moody and if she is stressed – she hides it well!

My funniest memories with Jane are on a one-off occasion, Jane turned up on completely the wrong site and had a cross City dash after she realised we were all at another venue. At Cofton Park we were expecting about 150+ small children.  I was at home chilling and Jane rang and asked ‘where are you?’ I had missed the planting in my diary! The prospect of dealing with all those small kids traumatised her! Luckily I lived nearby and made it just as they were arriving on site!! The relief on her face said it all.”

 Andrew Marshall, HSBC:“On behalf of everyone at HSBC in Birmingham, I wanted to say a massive big thank you to Jane (and everyone connected to BTfL) in accommodating staff from HSBC over the last 3 years. Personally, it has been a real privilege to learn so much about trees from Jane and I’ll miss working with her in the future. Jane’s passion for all things trees and her mission to keep Birmingham green and beautiful is really infectious and has really inspired me on my own quest. I know Jane has also inspired many others along the way, and I can certainly vouch for those colleagues from HSBC who were fortunate enough to volunteer with BTfL over the last few years who have certainly felt this.

We all wish Jane the very best in her next chapter of life and we hope that this brings many years of happiness. It’s bound to involve trees somewhere! From everyone at HSBC, take care and thank you Jane for everything.”

Sue Griffiths, BTfL:“My favourite memory of Jane is at Woodgate Valley which was a very large event early in Jane’s planting career – December 2009. On the Saturday over 130 people in family groups planted 280 trees, following on from businesses earlier. Her cheerful organising skills, marshalling so many people, were well demonstrated and we had great fun. It’s been like that ever since!”

Amelia Ladbrook: “Birmingham Civic society says: “Thank you for your huge contribution to BTfL and the Birmingham Civic Society. The organisation has gone from strength to strength and
have a legacy to be proud of. Best wishes for the future.”

 

 

Viv Astling, BTfL:“Jane has been such a friendly face with a warm smile and often a pre-Covid hug at our planting events. Not once or twice, but on every single occasion. Whatever the weather and whatever the circumstances including coping with missing children or trees that smiling face has overcome the problems.

‘I recall an early planting with Waitrose at a site in the far-flung reaches of Sutton Coldfield when we had horizontal rain driven by a gale force wind. Jane confessed she had quite a lot of water in her boots. But never the less she smiled regardless of the weather.

Many thanks Jane and every good wish for the future. We will miss you and your smile.”

Bill Heslegrave, BTfL:“I shall always treasure memories of Jane’s warm greetings and friendship at BTFL meetings and events, her constant hard work on BTFL’s behalf, her infectious enthusiasm for all things environmental, plus her feistiness when combatting governmental or corporate obduracy. BTFL would not have progressed to where it is today without her drive and ability to make things happen. I for one will miss her lots.”

Mark Eagles KallKwik:“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you over the past 12 years in your role with BTFL. Where has, the time gone? I wish you every happiness in the next chapter of your life and I hope you enjoy every moment. Hopefully see you again if you are in the City Centre. Good Luck!”

Sophia Nasreisfahany, BTfL:“Being a new recruit to the BTFL team I have only known Jane for a short while but would like to thank Jane for making me feel so welcomed into the BTFL team. It is clear Jane has been a highly valued and respected member of the team for many years and that colleagues are sad to see her leave. I have tried my best so far to absorb as much knowledge and insight as I can from Jane whose expertise will be greatly missed. I can only hope that in time I will be able to live up to Jane’s reputation and help to maintain the fantastic work of BTFL and everyone who supports us. Jane will be a tough act to follow and I am sure will be sadly missed by colleagues and partners, myself included. Thankyou Jane, for helping me off to the best possible start in my new role by sharing your expertise (and many helpful spreadsheets) that I am sure have equipped me as much as possible. I hope you feel you are leaving your role in trustworthy hands and wish you the best of luck and much happiness in your new ventures.”

Julia, Green Team Deutsche Bank:“Dear Jane, we were going through pictures from our tree planting events since 2012 and while the colour of DB T-Shirts changed over the years there were always two constants, you and happy colleagues feeling they have made a difference. Thank you for all your hard work you have put into these events, we have learned a lot over the years and not just about trees but about Birmingham too. All the best for the futurefrom Julia, Muireann, Nate and the rest of the DB Birmingham Green Team”

Justine Marklew, BTfL:“Being a relative newbie myself at BTfL Jane has been a great support. I love the ethos and objectives of BTfL and Jane’s passion for trees and improving our environment has always been paramount. My first year at BTfL has been a wonderful transition made even more rewarding and enjoyable by Jane, who has endorsed creativity and a new approach to social media and Comms. I understand Jane’s passion for trees and BTfL and I understand it must’ve been a difficult decision to leave a role that does so much good and is so rewarding. I wish Jane all the very best in her new venture whatever that may be. Never look back, but always look up at all the beautiful trees you have planted! Thanks’ Jane!

 Fiona Williams, BTfL:“Jane, you have always carried out your duties efficiently and effectively.  I have learned a lot about trees from you and really appreciate it.  It’s been nice to know you and I wish you every happiness in your new place.

Deborah Needle BTfL:

Thousands of trees and millions of leaves

An amazing thing to have achieved

So many children stomping the mud

Learning and laughing can only be good

 Leading the project with joy and smiles

Creating a forest that stretches for miles

Always there to oversee

You cared for each and every tree

 Welcoming planters from far and wide

Describing the work and brimming with pride

Spreading the word – the wonder of trees

Giving us oxygen, beauty and bees

 Thank you, Jane for all you’ve done

I promise I’ll keep fighting on

Caring for trees from their roots to their shoots

In the cold and the rain and in muddy boots

 Thousands of trees and millions of leaves

An amazing thing to have achieved

As you move on to projects new

I wish you luck in all you do

 Simon Needle, Principal Ecologist/Arboriculturist: “It has been a pleasure to work with Jane over the last ten years. During the time, I worked as BCC Conservation and Woodland Manager Jane provided a friendly and professional link to the BTFL project. It was always an enjoyable part of my job to plan where the seasons trees were going to go and what species would be best suited to the site and Jane’s input into those decisions meant that it was always a joint effort between BTFL and Parks, partnership working at its best.

Then when it came to planting Jane was always out on-site rain or shine keeping us on our toes and making sure the trees had the best possible start. The thousands of trees Jane helped to plant and the hundreds of children she has engaged with is a wonderful legacy for the City and for Janes work with BTFL. I wish her all the best for the future.”

 

So, Jane thanks for all your hard work, we will miss you and wish you all the very best for all the next exciting chapter in your life. You have had a huge impact on BTfL, you leave Birmingham a more beautiful, cleaner greener city thanks to all the trees you helped plant across Birmingham. All the time you have taken to help educate and inspire our younger generations to love trees and all the volunteers who have eagerly planted with us come rain or shine under your supervision.

It’s a wonderful legacy to leave with and we feel privileged and proud to have worked with you on such a special and successful project as BTfL – thank you!

 

 

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