Past Projects – 2016-17
‘Four Towers’, Metchley Grange Estate, Harborne
Following a request from the residents’ Housing Liaison Board for these flats, we arranged to plant ten fruit trees close to the tower blocks, which are now known as ‘The Four Towers’ in Harborne. Part of the Metchley Grange Estate, there are several small areas of public open space among the houses and flats, including a fishing lake! We were joined by year 3 pupils from nearby St. Mary’s RC Primary School – Wellingtons were the order of the day for our 6 volunteers, who had taken part in a ‘draw’ to select which pupils (of the 60 keen applicants) would come along and plant! Varieties of young pear, plum and apple trees were planted, to create spring colour and fruit for the residents to harvest.
Tennal Lane Rec, Quinton
Woodhouse Academy is not far from this site and we welcomed ten members of the school’s Eco Team to plant ten new trees on this small site. After some instructions from Simon, they were off! The trees are all field maple so will bring some much-needed colour to the park, which is close to the Welsh House Farm Estate. We got lucky with a dry start to the morning – as soon as we finished, it poured with rain!
Javelin Avenue, Castle Vale, Tyburn
Once again we joined forces with the Community Environmental Trust in Castle Vale to continue greening this area. At the BTFL event, we planted ten large specimen trees along the edge of this residential road on the estate. Fifteen pupils from Year 5 of Chivenor Primary School planted beautiful Liquidambar and unusual hop hornbeam trees to provide the local residents with fabulous autumn colour in the years to come. At separate events organised by the CET, they planted a further 250 sapling trees on several different sites around the estate, involving local people and schools.
Bleak Hill Rec, Stockland Green
We returned to this large open space along the river once again to add more trees to this site, largely hidden between houses. It was good to see previous years’ trees maturing well, though some of the large trees have been lost to vandalism. To say that it was cold was an understatement, but that didn’t stop Year 5 from Court Farm Primary and Year 7 from Perry Beeches Academy planting 750 whips in just about an hour! The pupils from PB Academy had planted with us earlier in the season so were very capable of ‘getting on’ with the job to be done. We were pleased to welcome Claire Halpin from The Halpin Trust, one of BTFL’s biggest supporters, to help us at this event.
Farm Park, Sparkbrook
Farm Park was the site of another celebration for BTFL as the Lord Mayor and staff from our long time supporters Deutsche Bank Birmingham planted our 60,000th tree in Birmingham. Staff and clients from Platinum Housing Care – an organisation helping homeless young people in to training, work and housing – also helped to plant 9 more trees to replace those destroyed when the 2005 tornado devastated this area.
Balaclava Road, Kings Heath
This was a very small addition to our programme at the request of a local Councillor – three trees to brighten the grassed area outside some sheltered flats. Three different ornamental flowering trees will bring some colour for the residents to enjoy.
Sparkhill Park, Springfield
Local Councillors asked BTFL to help with replacing a row of cherry trees which are gradually being lost from the road frontage in the park. Twelve pupils from neighbouring St. John’s C of E Primary School helped us to plant ten lovely flowering cherry trees of two varieties – one pink, and one white, with the support of some of the new Friends group. This well-used inner city park provides a valuable open space for local residents to get some exercise outside.
Heybarnes Rec, Bordesley Green
One of our largest events of the year, this event was a collaboration with Trees for Cities, a London based tree planting organisation, and the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, as well as the Woodland Trust. Close to 170 adults and children joined us on site at Heybarnes Recreation Ground to turn this large open space into a new woodland as part of the Nature Improvement Area project. Sixteen large trees and 5000 whips were planted over a large area of the site that runs alongside the River Cole. We managed to get a whole year group from St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary to join us over the course of the day, and Trees for Cities gathered over 50 corporate and community volunteers from Birmingham branches of national organisations they are involved with, to help the children. Volunteers from the Wildlife Trust also did their bit. Special thanks to Simon Needle for his work is planning the regeneration of this site as part of the Nature Improvement Area project.
Tile Cross Rec, Shard End
Anyone looking out of their windows from the flats surrounding Tile Cross Rec might have thought that there was an invasion going on, as four schools/colleges turned out to help plant 500 small trees and 10 large standards along one side of this large open space. Gossey Lane J & I, Shirestone Academy and Brays School were joined by a group of young people from Bournville College. The new swathe of trees should create a beautiful habitat for birds, animals and insects as well as enhancing the view for local residents.
New John St West POS, Newtown, Aston
We were pleased to welcome staff from Deutsche Bank Birmingham on site for the second time this season at this strip of green space running along the Ring Road in Newtown. A small group of young adults being supported by Platinum Housing Care also came along, and the two groups mixed in together, battling rubble with some hard digging, to plant ten specimen hawthorn and Amelanchier trees, which will create beautiful spring and autumn colour along this busy road opposite the tower blocks.
St. Mark’s Park, Ladywood
This inner city park, within sight of Birmingham’s NIA, is in the Ward of the Lord Mayor, Cllr. Carl Rice, so we were pleased to welcome him – unfortunately the weather was less welcoming, and we were subjected to pouring rain for the whole event! Nelson Primary School backs on to the park, and their Eco group were keen to help plant ten large new trees on an open area of grassland. As the conditions deteriorated from drizzle to downpour, our photos got slightly blurred! None of this deterred the pupils, who all worked hard and soon had the beautiful field maple and bird cherry trees firmly in the ground!
Lickey Hills Country Park, Longbridge
Given their enthusiasm for planting trees in previous years, we decided to offer staff from Deutsche Bank a different opportunity this year, and they once again proved that bankers are not afraid of hard physical work at our Woodland Workshop day. Platinum Housing Care also brought a small group of young people to help at the event. In the morning the teams helped to clear an area of overgrown woodland, piling up previously felled logs and brash, and cutting down self-seeded laurel and holly. The Lord Mayor was keen to light the campfire on which we prepared a lunch of baked potatoes and beans, and in the afternoon, everyone got down to planting 1000 young trees to restore the broadleaf woodland.
Plant a Tree for Life Community Sponsors’ Event
Later that same month, over 40 family members who had sponsored trees added their trees to the same area to complete the restoration. Most of the families were planting trees in memory of a loved one, but some had sponsored a tree just for the fun of it and the pleasure of coming to plant it in such beautiful surroundings. goo.gl/photos/MQH9j8XbGgnLXtbh9
Cofton Park, Longbridge
Our official ‘launch’ event for our new partnership with the Woodland Trust was one of our busiest days this season, with four schools and a college planting 1500 whips to create two new areas of woodland in this huge park. The little ones from Rednal Hill Nursery School were among our youngest planters ever, helped by their parents, and joined by pupils from Albert Bradbeer Primary, Turves Green Boys’ School and Perry Beeches Academy. Woodland Trust staff and a local volunteer fundraiser helped the Lord Mayor and Geoff Cole to plant a ceremonial specimen tree to mark the occasion.
West Heath Park, Northfield
On a freezing cold day, a group of lads from Turves Green Boys’ School helped pupils from neighbouring West Heath Primary to add under-storey planting to an area of thinned Millennium Wood on the edge of this large park. The planting was quite difficult in places so it was hard work getting 500 whips in, but with help from adults on hand, the task was soon completed. However, the biting cold meant that the children did not hang around very long to admire their handiwork!
Kings Norton Park, Kings Norton
At the request of the local Tree Officer and Friends Group, BTFL is helping to restore an avenue of Wellingtonia that have had to be felled due to age or disease. The four trees were funded by a local person who is keen on large trees, and he and his father came along to help. Also on hand was small group of students and staff from The Edge Academy, as well as some of the Friends. We hope to continue to avenue restoration in coming seasons.
Aldridge Road Rec, Oscott
Ten large silver birch and mountain ash were planted by a small group of enthusiastic pupils from Great Barr Primary School along the paths in this park. We were pleased to be joined by the Friends of Queslett Nature Reserve which is nearby. The day started very cold but as the work progressed, glorious sunshine developed to help everyone along.
Bournville Park, Bournville
This leafy park has seen some trees removed recently, so local Councillors had asked if some new trees could be planted. Bournville Junior School couldn’t be much closer to the park, so their team of ‘Pollinators’ had a very short walk to join us to plant ten beautiful alder trees along the brook. We were also pleased to welcome some members of the recently formed ‘Friends’ group, who have lots of ideas for future tree planting projects.
Selly Park Rec, Selly Oak
St. Edward’s RC Primary School brought eight of their Eco Team to help plant three very different species of trees – dogwood, Turkish hazel and wild service tree. These beautiful specimen trees were planted along two of the park boundary roads, and will add a dash of colour and interest to the ‘outdoor gym’ area of this otherwise relatively open space. The pupils asked lots of thoughtful questions about the trees they were planting, and we are sure that we can rely on them to keep a watchful eye on all their trees.
New Hall Valley Country Park, Sutton New Hall
A return to New Hall Valley, this time to add some extra trees to the community orchard that we planted a few years ago. A variety of apple, pear and plum trees were planted by BTFL and we were joined on site by a member of the New Hall Valley Steering Group.
Jones Wood, Sutton New Hall
This woodland has undergone major work recently, undertaken by the new Friends Group with direction from the Park Rangers. The huge efforts they have put in are evident by the large areas that have been cleared of a mass of brambles, laurel and holly, as well as weak trees that have been felled to allow more light into the wood. We and the Friends were joined by an extremely enthusiastic class of year 6 pupils from the adjacent Deanery C of E Primary, as well as television’s ‘Autistic Gardener’, Alan Gardner, who lives locally and has been helping with the Friends’ activities. Despite stony ground and lots of roots, 500 whips were planted in an hour and a half to develop under-storey planting and start the process of renewing the woodland for the future.
Acocks Green Rec, Acocks Green
The newly formed Friends of Acocks Green Rec contacted us to ask if BTFL could help with trees and hedging to help to screen an ugly graffiti-covered wall at one end of this park. We met up with them and it was agreed that a ‘jam hedge’ and a community orchard would be a great way to get more people involved in the park by creating opportunities for foraging, and harvesting edible fruits. To enable the Friends to invite the local Scout pack, we held our planting event on a Saturday morning, and lots of the Friends and local families joined the 260th Birmingham Scouts to plant the hedging whips and ten fruit trees. The Friends rounded off a lovely event by providing tea and biscuits!
Sheldon Country Park, Sheldon
Low-flying planes are a constant presence over this park as it is on the flight path to the airport, so we were delighted to receive support from the Airport’s Community Trust Fund to add more trees to the park. The Rangers asked if we could plant a hedge and large trees around one of the paddocks, and we were delighted to have the support of Stanville Primary pupils and our stalwart helpers from Perry Beeches Academy to plant 1000 whips and 10 large field maples around a perimeter fence.