Past Projects – 2012-13
Woodgate Valley Country Park ‘Plant a Tree for Life’ 2013
Birmingham Trees for Life welcomed families and friends along to the annual ‘Plant a Tree for Life’ community event at Woodgate Valley Country Park in mid April – this event had been postponed due to heavy snow in March so everyone was really pleased to feel the warm sun. All of the families had sponsored trees for various reasons – for some it was in memory of a loved one, for others to celebrate a christening or marriage. Young families, and several generations of one, made short work of planting not only their sponsored trees, but a large number of saplings too. Larger oaks, hornbeams, rowan and bird cherry trees were supplemented by whips to further extend this area of woodland. We were also joined on site by three local gentlemen who planted a number of container-grown trees, which they had grown on from small seedlings.
The previous day, five intrepid ladies from Forresters joined members of BTFL in our last business sponsored planting event of the year, the annual ‘Plant a Tree for Life’ event for local businesses. The ladies planted a Quercus palustris, a pin oak, as part of their ‘Bronze’ sponsorship package, along with several smaller silver birch trees at the site. During the event Christine Cushing, Chairman of Birmingham Civic Society, presented a plaque to Forresters to commemorate the planting of the trees, following which we all enjoyed some well-earned refreshments.
Queen’s Park, Harborne, with Deutsche Bank Birmingham
Five hardy staff from Deutsche Bank Birmingham helped to plant 5 large cherry trees at Queen’s Park in extremely cold weather. The event was part of Deutsche Bank’s sponsorship of Birmingham Trees for Life’s planting programme and we have been pleased to welcome them at several events throughout the city. The cherry trees were being planted to line the path close to the play area, and complement the existing planting plan, replacing previously lost trees. We were disappointed not to have a local school present due to a last minute hitch, but hope that the school will be able to join us at another event next year. On the same day, Alderman Alden planted a Jubilee commemorative tree on behalf of Harborne Ward.
Ley Hill Park, Bartley Green, with Willmott Dixon Partnerships
30 pupils from 3 schools helped staff from Willmott Dixon Partnerships Ltd plant hundreds of trees in Ley Hill Park, Bartley Green, on a crisp sunny morning. This was a Big Tree Plant event, with Willmott Dixon providing generous match funding for tree planting. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress lent their support, to plant around 500 saplings to create a new woodland, and 5 larger trees along the edge of the park. Pupils from Ley Hill J&I were particularly enthusiastic as this is their local park, and they were ably assisted by older pupils from Frankley Community High, as well as pupils from Birchfield Community School. Thanks to the Friends of Ley Hill Park who helped us too and warmed us up with tea in Holloway Community Hall afterwards!
Bleak Hill Recreation Ground, Stockland Green
In March, two schools and a community group joined together to plant two large woodland areas either side of the river at Bleak Hill. 35 pupils from Featherstone Primary School, including their Eco Council, were joined on site by 15 students from Holyhead School, and a dozen members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The 3000 smaller trees were provided through a Forestry Commission grant, and 10 larger standard poplar and alder trees were funded from our Big Tree Plant grant. The large numbers on site meant that we were able to plant all the trees that morning, and as lunchtime approached, most of the pupils were reluctant to leave until every tree was in the ground. This extensive planting will mature into two woodland areas to increase the biodiversity of this large open (and a little bleak!) site.
Pype Hayes Park, Tyburn with Willmott Dixon
‘ Who cares if it’s snowing’ was the cry from the pupils of Gunter Primary School (all 27 of them) as they walked to Pype Hayes Park to take part in this Big Tree Plant event, with support from Willmott Dixon Partnerships Ltd. The task for the morning was the planting of 1000 whips (small trees) and 5 larger oak trees to create a band of new woodland along the Eachelhurst Road edge of the park, and extend a row of old oak trees. 16 students from Saltley Specialist Science School, 4 Birmingham City University students, and Willmott Dixon Apprentices, each took charge of two or three younger pupils and worked so well in their teams that they made short work of a large task. No one seemed to notice the snow that was falling, or the temperature! Before we knew it, the task was completed and everyone went off to warm up.
Marion Way POS, Hall Green, with Waitrose
Waitrose Hall Green celebrated 75 years of the John Lewis Partnership by planting over 300 trees at Marion Way Public Open Space in Hall Green. Two larger trees, an oak and a hawthorn, were planted, one for John Lewis and one for Waitrose, and 300 mixed native saplings were also planted – two for every Partner working at Waitrose Hall Green. It was a glorious sunny morning for the 8 Partners to help BTFL bulk up a newly laid traditional hedgerow along one edge of this small open space. We were also pleased to welcome a local Councillor with her husband who came along to offer assistance as well.
Farm Park, Sparkbrook
Even temperatures of -3 degrees didn’t deter Class 5 from Christchurch C of E Primary School as they worked hard to plant more disease resistant elm trees in the park. After instructions in the safe use of spades they set to, and before long 10 new trees had been added to Farm Park. This is part of a continuing effort to recreate the tree-lined walkways within this inner-city park. The children were joined on site by contractors Quadron, (who prepared the site) and a local Councillor. Despite the cold and light snow flurries it was a very enjoyable morning, and we hope to continue to replace the trees along the paths in Farm Park in future years.
Cannon Hill Park, Moseley, with Korean War Veterans
Our opening event of the season was also the wettest! This event was arranged by local members of the British Korean War Veterans Association as a commemorative tree planting, attended by The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress. BTFL arranged for 10 pupils from Swanshurst Girls’ School to help the veterans to plant a selection of Korean trees in readiness for next year’s installation of a memorial on this site. The rain was torrential and the planting holes were filling with water faster than they could be bailed out. However, despite the inclement weather everyone agreed that the event had been very successful.
Ward End Park, Washwood Heath with Deutsche Bank Birmingham
How lucky are we? Whilst rain fell on most of Birmingham the sun shone in Ward End Park. Just as well, as we had already had to postpone this planting once due to severe weather. As the original planting was due to fall at Easter we had decided to incorporate an Easter Egg Hunt with cream eggs kindly donated by Deutsche Bank and Waitrose Hall Green……but 8 inches of snow put paid to that! Undeterred, we rescheduled and welcomed 3 schools on site in April – 29 children from Thornton Primary School and 14 from Sladefield Infant School came along to plant a hawthorn hedge around their Forest School area within the park, whilst 12 senior pupils from Saltley School worked on another area in the park to plant 12 large pin oak, sweet chestnut and elms and 350 mixed native saplings.
Members of staff from Deutsche Bank in Birmingham, who had provided match-funding for the event, came to support the pupils’ efforts and also to bring the all important cream eggs!
An ‘Easter Egg Hunt’ seemed inappropriate so long after Easter, so we decided on an ‘Egg Roll’ event, which the Saltley pupils entered with enthusiasm, collecting as many eggs as they could hold! The younger pupils seemed happy to think the Easter Bunny had left their eggs for them in safe keeping with the Friends of Ward End Park!
After the event the Friends laid on a substantial buffet lunch – our thanks to them, and the two local Councillors who joined us at the event and assisted with planting and food service.
Glebe Farm Recreation Ground, Shard End
Many hands make light work and we had many hands working at Glebe Farm Recreation Ground when 26 children from Audley Primary School joined 6 staff from The Insurance Factory, 4 members of the local Friends group, 3 teachers, one local Councillor, the Woodland Management Team and BTFL staff to plant 1,000 trees! The members of staff from The Insurance Factory planted a standard hornbeam on site as Bronze ‘Plant a Tree for Life’ sponsors, but they soon pitched in to help the children plant a further 1,000 small trees. This is our second whip planting on this large site, as BTFL helps to take some riverside areas out of close mowing to create more biodiversity by planting mixed woodland. Activity was frantic and in just over one hour all the trees were safely bedded in.
Summerfield Park, Soho
Summerfield Park was the venue for our first rainy day planting of 2013 but that didn’t discourage members of Summerfield Residents Association turning out to support the Junior School Council from Barford Primary School as they undertook a planting in heavy drizzle. The pupils planted 10 Acer platanoides ‘Deborah’ to complete one of the existing tree avenues in the park. Despite the weather, a good time was had by all.
Sara Park, Nechells
Luck was with the Eco Council pupils from Regents Park Community Primary School as the previous week’s snow was replaced by glorious sunshine! Twelve mixed age pupils from the group came together to plant 8 trees in Sara Park, which is adjacent to their school site. They all worked very hard, and were joined on site by the Chairman of the local Friends group, the manager of the Sara Park Play Centre, and Councillor Zaffar. The BTFL ‘goodie bags’ went down well with all the pupils and despite a cold wind they all agreed they had enjoyed their morning planting trees. At the Friends’ request, the trees had been selected for their value to wildlife, with flowering hawthorn and crab apple trees which will also have fruits for the birds.
7 pupils and 2 teachers frpm Manor Park Primary School in Aston braved freezing conditions to plant trees in Aston Park in December. The Friends of Aston Hall and Park, who had requested the trees, and their invited guests, helped the school plant three silver birch trees as part of the Big Tree Plant project. The trees were planted close to the boundary of the Hall’s formal gardens. The staff at Aston Hall kindly opened up the Hall’s cafe afterwards at the request of the Friends so that everyone could warm up and talk about trees and the history of the Hall.
St. Thomas Peace Gardens with BizMove
Local company BizMove, who are relocation specialists helping companies with re-organisations, moving and fit-outs, sponsored five specimen trees to celebrate the opening of their show suite in Langley Point, a new envrionmentally friendly office building on Bath Row. The trees were planted in St. Thomas Peace Gardens, which can be seen from the building, with the help of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress on a lovely sunny morning. Afterwards, BizMove kindly laid on refreshments on the top floor of Langley Point, which has wonderful views across the city and beyond.
Deutsche Bank Birmingham launch planting, City Centre Gardens
We were delighted to welcome the Managing Director of Deutsche Bank Birmingham and several of his colleagues to a ceremonial planting to launch the company’s sponsorship of tree planting with BTFL in National Tree Week 2012. A fine specimen of Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Warplesdon’ was planted by the bank with the help of Councillor James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and SMART City.
City Centre Gardens is a small public garden behind the new Library which is well used by local residents, and is very close to the Bank’s Birmingham offices. Deutsche Bank have a very active Corporate Social Responsibility programme, and this includes a strong ‘green’ agenda, so the Bank’s CSR Committee is keen to support tree planting in the city, as they have two major offices on Broad Street and now employ a significant number of people in Birmingham. BTFL is looking forward to working with Deutsche Bank Birmingham staff on a number of planting projects throughout 2013.
Kings Norton Park with Deutsche Bank Birmingham
Staff from the Birmingham office of Deutsche Bank came along to Kings Norton Park to help plant 10 standard trees and five hundred small trees with pupils of Kings Norton Primary School. The bank had kindly sponsored this event and we were glad of their help and that of the Friends, as we had over 100 pupils from the school on site in shifts throughout the morning!
The pupils were all from year 1 and 2 and they had the support of a mixed age School Council group, who stayed on site all morning to assist the adults with supervision. Deutsche Bank staff and members of the Friends of Kings Norton Park pitched in to help plant the whips, and whilst they were waiting for the class ‘change over’, they also planted 10 beautiful specimen trees in another area of the park. These trees are all different varieties to contribute to a future Tree Trail within the park. With the help of the Park Ranger and a local Councillor (who arrived by bike and worked very hard!) all the trees were in place in less than 2 hours.
Meadow Brook Recreation Ground, Northfield
Even strong north winds didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of a small band of young pupils from Victoria School when challenged to plant 10 large field maples and hornbeams close to their school site. Members of the Friends of Ley Hill Park and BTFL staff were organised on site by four very cheerful pupils, who took to tree planting as if they had been doing it every day. They were all so cheerful that the sun came out, and they treated us to a few songs en route. Thank you Victoria School, for brightening our day.
Lickey Hills Country Park, Northfield
Six volunteers from the Lickey Hills Habitat Heroes team added more fruit trees to the community orchard at the Lickey Hills in November. The following day a team of five volunteers from Phoenix Futures, a charity dedicated to helping people recover from substance misuse, helped to plant the final trees. In all, eighteen trees were planted, with local heritage varieties chosen, including Black Worcester Pear, Yellow Pershore Plum, Shropshire Prune Damson, mulberry and medlar. This planting, along with the trees planted the previous March, brings the completed orchard to 37 assorted local heritage trees.
On 17th January the park celebrated their inaugural Wassail Day. Twenty friends and visitors braved the snow to take part in this wonderful centuries-old traditional ceremony. There was singing and drinking, and the banging of pans and blowing of horns, in an attempt to drive away evil spirits to encourage the health of the trees in the hope that they might better thrive. A huge thank you from the Rangers to all those involved.
Handsworth Park is always a joy to visit, as it is such a beautiful historic park – but on a spring day in glorious sunshine nowhere can beat it! Pupils from Grove school helped plant 9 particularly interesting specimen trees at various locations within the park. The pupils were all chosen from years 5 and 6 at the school and were accompanied by their Gardening Group leader and a member of staff. All of them live in the area and we are sure they will be keeping a special eye on their trees!
A further tree was planted by members of the Handsworth Kurdish Community, who came together to plant a Halabja memorial tree in the Park. They were joined on site by the local Councillors, and members of the Handsworth Park Association, as well as some local residents who run a community website, ‘Inside Handsworth’. Photos of this can be found here.
Hamstead Playing Fields, Handsworth Wood
Year 2 of St. Marks RC Primary School made short work of planting 10 more willow trees along the riverside in Hamstead Playing Fields. This was the continuation of a project started last year by BTFL with schools in the area, and we hope to be able to fund the final stages next year. Geoff Cole (BTFL) instructed the pupils in the safe use of spades and Councillor Gurdial Singh Atwal watched with amazement at the speed with which the children completed their task. Worms featured heavily in the event and we had quite a gallery by the end of the morning!
Walker’s Heath Park, Brandwood
Year 5 pupils from The Oaks Primary School finished a morning of planting 10 standard trees in their local park by planting some small oak trees, in honour of their school name. The pupils had walked to the site and all agreed that they would definitely be visiting the park again to check on their trees. They all worked so hard on site that coats were soon cast aside to enjoy the sunshine.
The Friends of Walkers Heath Park kindly provided refreshments for everyone and we were lucky enough to enjoy one of the sunniest mornings of the year. Pine trees, hornbeams and wild cherries were planted in a secluded area of this large park, and BTFL hopes to be back at the park in the near future to add some more new trees.
Stirchley Park, Bournville
A good turn out by the Friends of Stirchley Park meant that they made short work of planting 5 specimen hawthorn trees on site to help shield a boundary wall. The Friends were joined on site by a local Councillor and a visiting group of 3 children, each with mixed life challenges, but all eager to be involved in the planting of these beautiful trees, which will have spring blossom and then berries for the birds. The children, all of whom are taught at home, were having a day out and went on to visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens. BTFL very much hope to welcome pupils with Birmingham Outdoor Learning Service again at our events. The Friends group at Stirchley Park have formed fairly recently but we must applaud their turn out of numbers and also their positive thoughts about this well hidden park. For those of you trying to find it…. it lies to the rear of the Co-op in Stirchley.
Froggatts Ride, Sutton New Hall
After another snow delay, 14 Eco Group pupils from Holy Cross RC Primary School finally made it to Froggatts Ride in Sutton Coldfield to help us plant 300 whips to create a copse in a corner of this small public open space. The delay had in no way reduced the enthusiasm of this small band of pupils, and in a very short time all 300 whips were safely planted. A local Councillor joined the pupils on site. Preparation of the site had been undertaken prior to the snowfall but fortunately the ground had remained soft enough for the pupils to plant without too much assistance. The wind was cold but everyone soon worked up a sweat! The children will now think of this area, created by them, as Holy Cross Wood.
Banners Gate, Sutton Vesey with Documotive
Local company Documotive continued their support of BTFL on a cold morning on 20th February to plant 15 more trees at a site close to Banners Gate, Sutton Park. In 2012, Documotive embarked on a green initiative by pledging to plant a tree for every million documents scanned and recycled at the company’s scanning centre in Sutton Coldfield, and planted the first 10 trees. Having stepped up productivity by 50% over the past year, the company’s document scanning services currently scan and recycle approximately 1.5m documents per month. Today’s planting has taken the total up to 25 trees, creating the Documotive wood. Eight members of Documotive staff and management planted a mix of alders and field maples.
Withy Hill Recreation Ground, Sutton Trinity
Sunshine greeted the pupils of John Willmott School after they made the long walk to Withy Hill Recreation Ground. Local residents have been upset by vandalism of young trees on this site so in an effort to combat this, pupils from a local senior school donned wellies and took up spades to plant 10 new willow trees on the site. It was just as well that the choice was willow as the planting area is pretty wet, but this didn’t deter the young people who squelched and splashed their way around the site! The older pupils on site were also taking part in a challenge section of their Youth Award and younger members had been chosen for their good progress at school. The youngsters all enjoyed watching as the Woodland Management Team’s truck had to be pulled out of the mud by the Land Rover!
New Hall Valley, Sutton New Hall
Andrew Mitchell MP joined around 40 members of Sutton Coldfield U3A to plant 20 heritage apple trees on land in New Hall Valley. The planting was to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and 30 years of the U3A in Sutton Coldfield. BTFL had provided the trees and the Ranger Service had worked with U3A to install 2 African hardwood benches complete with inscriptions. The members also planted a small Royal Oak tree on the site before departing for lunch. Also in attendance were the Chairs of both The Birmingham and The Sutton Coldfield Civic Societies. Again, this event had previously been postponed due to heavy snowfall but thankfully the sun shone and the sheltered spot made it a very pleasant morning.
Ackers Adventure, South Yardley
The enthusiasm of thirty boys from Al-Hijrah School made short work of planting five silver birch trees close to the Ackers building. Despite the fact that none of them had planted a tree before they set to with enthusiasm and soon had the task completed. It was agreed that they had enjoyed their ‘taster’ event and we hope they will be joining us on other sites in the future.