Past Projects – 2014-15
Balmoral Road POS, Bartley Green
Kitwell Primary School is only just down the road from this site and many of the pupils walk past the area on their way to school. Specially chosen pupils helped plant some large oaks and field maples along the main road whilst others planted 1000 smaller trees to create a new hedge line along the road frontage. This small site at the motorway end of the road is an area often subject to fly tipping etc, and we hope that the children’s work will, over time, create a beautiful mixed native hedge to complement the meadow area. As well as planting trees the pupils collected quite a lot of clay to take back to school, as well as a selection of worms!
Ley Hill Park, Bartley Green with The Alex Theatre
There was a threat of snow at our planting at Ley Hill Park in January, but luckily the weather warmed up a little as pupils from The Orchard Primary Academy arrived to help members of the Friends to plant 5 large alder trees and 500 hazel whips. We were joined by staff from the New Alexandra Theatre who had spent a year fundraising to plant trees as part of their sustainability project, and they worked alongside the children to make light work of the new hazel coppice.
We were all surprised at how soon the icy surface changed to mud and a number of the pupils returned to school looking as if they had had mud baths!
Pype Hayes Park, Erdington
At the last planting of the 2014/15 season one school clocked up a ‘first’ – Holy Cross Catholic Primary School arrived on site by public transport! The school’s Eco group and Gardening club arrived by bus to the site, and made it on time too. They were joined by pupils from Gunter Primary School who had previously helped at Sorrel Park, so a large group of 48 children helped to plant another 1000 whips on the Eachelhurst Road boundary of the park. Local Councillors and school staff all worked alongside the children to add to the strip of woodland planted in a previous year.
Finchley Rec, Kingstanding
The whole of Year 1 from Twickenham Primary School flooded on to the site so we were grateful to have extra support from Councillors and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. We have worked with Twickenham Primary on several occasions and their enthusiasm and knowledge always shines through. 60 pupils, in two sessions, helped to plant 500 whips which should mature into a beautiful ‘Twickenham Wood’. Most pupils had been on a school ‘tree spotting’ visit to Sutton Park so were able to name many of the trees we were planting and showed a great interest in how fast they would grow and what they would look like.
Sorrel Park, Tyburn with Deutsche Bank
Year 4 pupils from the very local Gunter Primary School, staff from sponsors Deutsche Bank Birmingham, and local Councillors they all worked with such speed and efficiency that 1000 whips were planted in just about an hour! Sorrel Park is well known to local residents but its name is rarely heard elsewhere, as it is tucked away behind houses and appears very briefly adjacent to flats on the Tyburn Road. Once the smaller trees were tucked in safely, the pupils embarked on task of planting 8 larger trees to mark the boundary of the newly created woodland.
Sparkhill Park, Springfield with Costain
Despite the damp weather, it did nothing to dampen the spirits of the School Council from English Martyrs Catholic Primary School, who planted 10 new birch and elm trees, lining two of Sparkhill Park’s avenues. We were also joined by staff from Costain Ltd who had sponsored tree planting as they had had to remove some trees from another site they were working on in the city. The pupils from English Martyrs have been on this site with us before and were very keen to know how their other trees were progressing. Thanks to Costain for their enthusiastic participation.
Farm Park, Sparkbrook
Quadron staff were on hand to assist 27 Year 4 pupils from Christ Church C of E Primary School to plant 10 new elm trees along avenues within Farm Park. The park suffered badly when a tornado flew through the area in 2005, uprooting trees, and since then BTFL has made several visits with local schools to replace some of the lost trees. The day had a really autumnal feel and the youngsters finished their visit on a hunt for the largest and most colourful leaves they could find.
Bromford Rec, Hodge Hill
Rain, hail and blustery winds welcomed the massed ranks of pupils from Hodge Hill Primary School as they arrived at Bromford Recreation Ground. Luckily for us the staff decided to stick it out and inside 5 minutes the black clouds cleared and the storm moved on to drench someone else! A few choruses of ‘Rain, rain, go away’ seemed to work. We were impressed with the organisation that must have been involved to get almost 100 very young pupils to the site on time. The lengthy human crocodile was flanked by an escort of Police Officers who stayed to help the Forest School trained pupils as they planted 500 saplings to create a new area of woodland on this fairly bleak site.
Henry Barber Rec, Bordesley Green
Probably not many people in Bordesley Green actually know where Henry Barber Recreation Ground is! Luckily the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress knew its location, so they were able to join pupils of Bordesley Green Girls’ School to plant 10 Norway maples and sycamore trees to add colour to this small inner city park. On a cold but sunny day, the Bordesley Green girls made short work of backfilling the tree pits with the help of the Lord Mayor, in whose Ward this park is. Luckily the holes had been pre-prepared by Quadron, as the site was formerly houses, and most of them appeared to still be just below the surface! Thanks to Quadron for a sterling job cleaning up the fly tipping and litter before the event.
Chamberlain Gardens, Ladywood
A chilly day was soon warmed up when the pupils from the Oratory RC Primary School arrived on site. Their smiles and laughter brightened our day as they worked to plant 8 interesting specimen trees in Chamberlain Gardens. Some mature trees had previously been felled in this inner city park, and the Park Manager asked BTFL to plant some beautiful Liquidambar and tulip trees to replace them. The newly formed Friends of Chamberlain Gardens were also on hand to help and to photograph the event.
New Spring Street POS, Ladywood
Pupils from Brookfields Primary School helped BTFL to plant five beautiful flowering cherry trees to brighten up this small inner city site. Contractors from Quadron had pre-dug the holes for the children as there is a large amount of rubble from demolished houses on this land. Brookfields pupils have helped BTFL before when we planted in an adjacent spot. The School Council pupils made short work of back filling the tree pits and took the tree labels back to school with them to look up the different types of Cherry on the internet.
Summerfield Park, Soho
It looked as if our first planting of the year would be wet but, as ten School Council pupils from Barford Primary School left their building, the rain stopped and the sun tried hard to shine as they planted 10 large trees in Summerfield Park. Barford School have helped us on a number of occasions as part of an ongoing project to replace the tree lined avenues within Summerfield Park, and they always give us their maximum effort. This park has benefited from the Big Tree Plant grant several times and now has a beautiful selection of specimen trees lining the paths.
Balaam’s Wood LNR, Longbridge with Deutsche Bank
Rangers had been working with the Friends of Balaam’s Wood LNR to clear brambles and holly, and asked BTFL to plant a thousand new hazel whips to create a coppice to replace the scrub, which will allow light to reach the woodland floor and bluebells and other woodland flora to flourish. This proved to be our wettest planting of the year, but students from Balaam Wood Academy were not deterred as they joined staff from Deutsche Bank, who funded the event, to plant in very soggy conditions. Students from BMetC and Friends also helped and despite going home very bedraggled, everyone seemed to enjoy the morning.
Lickey Hills Country Park with Deutsche Bank
This season we made two visits here to continue the creation of the ‘Deutsche Bank Wood’, replacing larch trees that have been removed due to disease. Each time we were assisted on site by pupils from Lickey Hills Primary School, students from Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMetC), the Lickey Hills Society, Habitat Heroes and Deutsche Bank staff. Both these events have been sponsored by Deutsche Bank Birmingham, and with everyone’s help we have planted another 3000 hazel saplings to rejuvenate this area.
At the first event the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress also joined us to plant BTFL’s 40,000th tree, a major milestone in BTFL’s relatively few years in existence. Perry Beeches Academy also helped on site at the first event, which took place in the snow!
At the second event in March, Lickey Hills Primary school brought the whole of Year 3, 57 pupils who worked alongside Deutsche Bank employees in very muddy conditions to complete the coppice with another 1500 trees.
Kings Norton Park, Kings Norton
The Friends of Kings Norton Park had asked BTFL to help to replace some giant redwoods that had lined an avenue in the park, so the Green Team from Kings Norton Primary School joined with some of the Friends to plant 6 Wellingtonia from a path where some mature conifers had been felled. The Chairman of BTFL helped the children count the rings in the trunk of the felled tree to try and work out its age and then they set to work, with spades almost too large to hold!
Perry Hall Playing Fields, Perry Barr
The start of spring was evident at Perry Hall Playing Fields, where the Friends welcomed many helpers: 29 pupils from Dorrington Academy, 13 BMetC students, 7 Amey staff members, Councillors, and BTFL, Glendale and Woodland team staff. Pupils from Dorrington have worked with BTFL and the Rangers on previous occasions at Perry Hall and soon got stuck in to planting 1000 sapling trees. After the whips were all planted, BMetC students continued working and planted 10 larger oak and black poplar trees on another area of the park.
Handsworth Park, Lozells & E. Handsworth
Thirteen students from Handsworth Wood Girls’ Academy took up their spades to plant 10 specimen trees to create a Nelson Mandela Memorial Plantation to commemorate the South African leader’s visit to the park in 1993. Two of the trees planted are Davidia involucrata, more commonly known as the Peace Tree. They were joined on site by three local Councillors and the Park Ranger, who made sure the girls knew how to plant safely. We hope to add more bulbs and a bench to the plantation in 2016.
Perry Park, Perry Barr
The students from Perry Beeches The Academy had all volunteered to help plant the trees at Perry Park and, despite some dubious footwear, they made short work of planting 10 interesting and colourful trees close to the Reservoir in the Park. With a Maths lesson calling, for some reason they weren’t keen to rush off and took time to learn a few facts about trees and Perry Park, and a beautiful cherry tree (Prunus serrula) with very tactile shiny coppery bark drew their attention.
Billesley Common, Billesley
Billesley Common is a gem hidden in a largely suburban area of south Birmingham. The top end of this site is home to Moseley Rugby Club and surrounded by short mown grass but the lower end is a SLINC comprising diverse woodland and rough grass. With help from the Friends we managed to get close to 70 pupils from Billesley Primary School, 27 from Swanshurst Girls’ School, 8 BMetC students and local Councillors all planting 500 saplings, with the older students taking charge of the younger planters to make sure they enjoyed their experience on site.
Selly Oak Park, Selly Oak
Twelve pupils and staff from Cherry Oak School made the short journey to their local park to help plant some interesting trees with The Friends of Selly Oak Park. Wellies were order of the day as the ground was very waterlogged but that didn’t deter the children from doing some serious soil moving and plenty of firming of the ground. Everyone helped plant a lovely mix of 6 trees, cherry, walnut and Liquidambar, before enjoying squash, cake and biscuits provided by the Friends. The Quadron contractors helped the children ‘name’ every tree before they left the site and made their way back to school tired but happy.
Griffins Brook Valley Parkway, Bournville
This open space is a link in the Valley Parkway, with a path and stream running through it. Year 7 pupils from Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School, next door to the site, helped to plant 8 alder trees along the stream on a lovely mild late autumn day. Alders like damp ground, and the soil here is clay and often waterlogged, so the digging and the back filling was heavy work. That didn’t reduce the enthusiasm of the fourteen pupils who set to and worked hard knowing that there was a reward at the end ….Flapjack slices…. baked fresh at school for their break! Lucky for us they had some spare so we all enjoyed them.
Hill Hook LNR, Sutton Four Oaks
Hill Hook LNR is managed on behalf of the Council by the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, assisted by the Friends. The Friends had asked for some hedging whips to reinstate an ancient hedgerow, and offered to undertake this work themselves on our behalf as their usual work party day is a Saturday, not a normal BTFL planting day. The BBCWT co-ordinated the event, which fell on a glorious day.
Calder Drive POS, Sutton New Hall with Documotive
Local company Documotive Ltd sponsored tree planting once again in Sutton Coldfield, this year funding 15 trees planted in two sessions at Calder Drive POS. Oak, walnut and field maple trees were planted by Documotive staff along the edge of this open space, and Managing Director Jonathan showed his team how it should be done! Thanks to Documtove for their continuing support – they are now Platinum sponsors of BTFL!
Small Heath Park, South Yardley
BTFL received a request from the Friends of Small Heath Park for some fruit trees to create a community orchard. Pupils from Small Heath School assisted by Friends and Councillors made short work of planting 3 apple, 2 pear and 1 plum tree in an area close to the Mogul Garden.
Gilbertstone Rec, Sheldon
Cockshut Hill College students helped us to supervise 29 pupils from Yardley Primary School as they planted 500 whips to create a mixed woodland in a corner of the site. The Year 3 pupils from Yardley worked relentlessly and managed to plant most of the trees themselves, leaving a small amount to be finished by BTFL and the Woodland Team. The college were completing part of their course work and spent the rest of the morning planting and staking ten larger maple and oak trees that flanked the ‘whip’ area.
Fox Hollies Park, Acocks Green with Deutsche Bank
Staff from Deutsche Bank Birmingham, who sponsored this planting, helped to plant 1000 whips (of 15 varieties) alongside local school children from Severne Primary School, Oaklands Primary School and Ninestiles Academy who provided an extra 50 pairs of hands! The newly formed Friends of Fox Hollies Park were also on hand. Having plenty of ‘boots on the ground’ meant we soon made quick work of planting all our trees.