Welcome Justine!

We’re delighted to welcome our new team member Justine Marklew, who will be responsible for Communications, and liaison with schools and community groups.  Justine will be looking after our Twitter, Facebook and (new!) Instagram accounts, and looks forward to talking to all our followers!

 

Regent Park Community Primary School Park Visit

On Wednesday 10th July we went out to visit Sara Park with Year 4 pupils and teachers from Regent Park Community Primary School. We looked at all things trees. How do they grow? Why do we need them? There were some great questions asked like “How old is the park?” (we are still trying to find the answer to that one).

We searched the park for interesting shaped tree leaves and then used the Woodland Trusts leaf ident swatches to find out what trees were in the park.

Finally all the children made a huge “Wood Wide Web” to show how all the different species that live in the woodland interact with each other.

To get back to school we made a human “caterpillar” walking together in one line, teamwork in action. Well done everyone.

 

Thank you to HS2 Community Environment Fund for funding this session as part of our “Woodland Connections” Project.

Tree City of the World?

We are delighted to learn that the visit of the CEO of the Tree Cities of the World Network on 12th July was a great success and it is hoped that Birmingham will become the UK’s first official ‘Tree City’.

Well done to our close friend and colleague Simon Needle from Birmingham City Council who made a great presentation at the meeting about how Birmingham meets the criteria for the Tree City status.

More information can be found about the meeting here:

https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/news/article/448/birmingham_bids_to_become_a_tree_city_of_the_world

And more information about the Arbor Day Foundation in the US and the Tree Cities of the World initiative can be found here:
https://www.arborday.org/programs/tree-cities-of-the-world/

We’ll keep you posted on developments!

Congratulations Andrew!

BTFL has been working with HSBC UK in Birmingham over the last couple of years and we are very pleased to congratulate our main contact there, Andrew Marshall, on winning HSBC’s Global Sustainability Champion award.

The competition is part of HSBC’s Water Programme, which was launched in 2012.  The 8 year $150 million programme in partnership with Earthwatch, WaterAid & WWF has so far brought clean water to 2.5 million people and access to sanitation for 1.6 million in places such as Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Ghana and Nigeria.

Andrew set up a Birmingham ‘Green Team’ to highlight the bank’s environmental strategy and push local initiatives, and in his application he spoke about the relationship the team had forged with BTFL, and also highlighted the great work BTFL does in keeping our local parks green through volunteering, which provides a good sense of well-being for those staff who attend BTFL events.

The judges were looking for evidence of how Andrew’s sustainability work and actions had contributed real, measurable impacts in several categories: Knowledge & Understanding, Communication, Leadership & Delivering Sustainable Practices.

All the applications were externally judged by Earthwatch, WaterAid & WWF for work carried out throughout 2018.  In the end the judges couldn’t split Andrew and another colleague (James Davies), so in the end they decided to crown both as champions!

The two winners have been given the chance to physically go and work on one of the many projects through the Water Programme and they will join a project team in India in February 2020.

So well done Andrew from all of us at BTFL and keep up the good work!

Adderley Primary pupils extend their tree knowledge.

Today was supposed to be sunny…..but instead it was dismal and dull. That was until we entered Adderley Primary School, which was vibrant and bright and full of enthusiastic pupils.

After a brief chat we all headed back to the Adderley Park, to take a look at the trees the school planted with us last season. The news was good…….and bad! Several of the larger standard trees had been deliberately broken off, but on a more positive note- those remaining were thriving. We stopped to look at all the smaller whips the pupils had planted and they were also growing well.

Pupils were challenged to look at trees in more detail and try to recognise and remember at least one that they liked.

We were amazed at the knowledge these young pupils already had surrounding trees and the general environment.  They were all really excited to see the wonderful resources provided by HS2 that would mean they could extend their knowledge further. Great school, great event…..thank you HS2 for your sponsorship of this great initiative. Here are a few more photos!

Farewell and thank you to Jane E!

After over ten years in the role of School and Community Liaison for Birmingham Trees for Life, Jane Edwards is leaving us this week for a well-earned retirement.  At Jane’s final BTFL Committee meeting, Chairman Geoff Cole presented Jane with a keepsake to remember all the trees, children and events that have been part of the last decade.

BTFL’s mission is not just about planting trees, it is as much about involving local people in helping to plant them, especially school children.  Over the years, Jane has worked with hundreds of schools and teachers, to enable thousands of pupils to enjoy tree planting, often for the first time, and the pleasure and benefit they gain from outdoor activities involving the natural environment is always evident.  This year’s event at Perry Common Rec was her record – 153 children on one site over just a couple of hours!

So, on behalf of both BTFL and the Birmingham Civic Society, and especially myself, I’d like to thank Jane for all her hard work and tenacity, and for the good-natured and efficient way in which she always got on with the job.  Jane – you’ll be missed!

Bordesley Village Community School learn more about trees.

Thanks to HS2 funding, BTFL have been able to spend more quality time with schools that lie near the proposed rail route. 

As well as a teaching period in the class room, we had time to take them into the local park and introduce them to the wonder of trees and what happens to a tree during its life.

 

Bordesley Village Community School helped plant a number of trees in Garrison Park earlier this year but there was little time to look at other trees in the park and learn their names and what each part of a tree does- so today was a new experience for them.

You can see how busy they were collecting leaves and creating ‘food webs’, via this link.

Back at school Debbie showed them all the fun resources in their packs to keep them interested in trees and the environment they live in. Thank you BVCS for sparing time in your busy school day for TREES !

BTFL is looking for a new member to join our team!

Would you like to help get people involved in tree planting? BTFL has an opportunity for someone to take on our Communications and Liaison role, as Jane Edwards is leaving us after over a decade in the role.  This is a freelance self-employed role, part time, with variable hours.  Full details can be found here: Communications & Liaison role May 2019

If you fit the bill, and would like to apply, please email your CV to info@btfl.org.uk by 28th June 2019.

Enjoy spring in the woods!

Spring is well and truly here and there is no better time to get out and about and appreciate the beauty of nature in this time of new life.  The gorgeous bright green of the young leaves just bursting from their buds and lit up by the morning sun cheers you up no end!  On a morning walk at the Lickeys this morning, as well as the carpets of bluebells starting to flower, I was treated to close up visits from a tree creeper, buzzard and nuthatch too!

It’s rewarding to see the fruits of BTFL’s volunteers’ and funders’ labour too – the BTFL Deutsche Bank hazel coppice in the woods at the Lickey Hills is coming in to leaf and has established and grown really well now.  Surrounded by the bluebells, it really is a picture of spring – so get out into the woods and see all this new life for yourselves!