Past Projects 2019-20
Tennal Lane Recreation Ground, Quinton
We had a wonderful start to the season at Tennal Lane in Quinton – the sun shone on the 15 excited pupils from Worlds End Junior School, who knew all about trees and were eager to share their knowledge and get planting. Central News were there to film the opening event and their correspondent was very impressed with the knowledge of the children. Grabbing their spades with energy and enthusiasm, the children couldn’t wait to plant the ten large dawn redwood and poplar trees, which were planted to replace the existing mature poplar trees which will have to be felled soon due to their age and declining health
Stockland Green Housing Sites
18 new trees were planted on two City Council housing sites in Stockland Green Ward as part of a project part funded by the Government’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF), and for these plantings the Government funding was matched by Deutsche Bank Birmingham. Eight students from nearby Stockland Green School’s Eco Council joined the Green Team from Deutsche Bank Birmingham to plant 11 crab apple trees alongside the river off Scafell Drive, and then walked through Witton Lakes to plant seven further Liquidambar trees behind flats on Faulkners Farm Drive. Birmingham’s Poet Laureate Richard O’ Brien also helped to plant the trees – his first ever – and followed up by writing a poem about his morning’s experiences!
Newey Goodman Park, Hall Green South
Our second tree planting of the season was done in torrential and unrelenting rain, but that did not deter the 29 super Eco Warriors from St Ambrose Barlow Catholic Primary School! The children wanted to do their part to save the world, explaining their love of trees and the environment, and a bit of rain and mud wasn’t going to stop them. Ten lovely flowering cherries have added some further colour to this small suburban park. Despite wellies caked in mud and soggy hats, the children marched back to school excited to share their experience with the rest of the school.
Spark Green Park, Sparkbrook & Balsall Heath East
We welcomed the Lord Mayor to this event in his own Ward, helping 12 children from Nelson Mandela Primary School’s Eco Council, and 11 girls from Moseley School, to plant 500 whips (sapling trees) to form a pollution barrier along the Stoney Lane boundary. Also on hand were volunteers from HSBC UK, who were able to assist the smaller children with some of the difficult ground.
Grove Cottage POS, Bordesley Green
This small patch of green space near to Bordesley Green East was a little barren and untidy, so we hope that the six lovely flowering cherry trees that the six enthusiastic pupils from Somerville Primary School planted here will improve the outlook and the air quality for the local residents. The trees will also provide food sources for bees and birds too, so the members of the school’s Eco Council were even happier about that! This small inner city project was funded from the Government’s UTCF grant.
Batchelors Farm Park, Heartlands
The River Cole project event at Batchelors Farm Rec (also known as Bordesley Green Rec by some locally) was initially postponed due to flooding in February, and then unfortunately the re-scheduled date fell victim to coronavirus measures, so we are grateful to the Woodland Management Team and Rangers at the Council for planting the 1000 native whips on BTFL’s behalf.
Bloomsbury Park, Nechells
We were joined by 30 eager year six pupils from Cromwell Junior and Infant School in Bloomsbury Park for this first HS2 Community Environment Fund project of the season. The children couldn’t wait to plant the ten beautiful flowering cherry and silver birch trees, which will have Bloomsbury Park positively blooming each spring with blossom, and then alive with lovely autumn colour too. This inner city park already has some mature trees but the new ones along the path close to the flats will bring extra life and colour to the area.
Barrack Street Recreation Ground, Nechells
On a lovely sunny morning in December, members of the Pupil Parliament at St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School demonstrated their enthusiasm for local environmental causes. Staff from HS2 also joined in to help us plant the ten flowering cherry trees, as this was another planting funded through the HS2 CEF grant. The children were eager to tell us that most of them lived in the area and would see the trees every day, including from their school classrooms! This site is within view of the location of the new HS2 station, so it was an ideal place to be planting the new trees! You can see a video here.
Loxton Park, Nechells
Another Nechells site, another HS2 funded project… but this time we were greeted by heavy rain; that didn’t stop 25 very small children from St Joseph’s Infants School smiling and brightening our morning however! In three shifts the Year One children arrived by school minibus to plant ten lovely flowering cherry trees in this inner city park. While the children waited for the heavy digging to be completed by the Woodland Team, they sang a beautiful Christmas carol for us, looked for worms, played tree statues and sang Jingle Bells! They may have been among our smallest planters at 5 and 6 years old, but they were not put off by the rain and mud and were very knowledgeable about how important trees are in helping us to live.
Penshurst Avenue, Aston
Fourteen smiley Year Four pupils from Birchfield Community School in Aston were well prepared for our small tree planting event beside flats on Penshurst Avenue in Aston. Although there were only five trees to be planted, all the children were very excited about the prospect of planting their very first tree – in this case hornbeam and silver lime. Close to the busy A34 dual carriageway, the trees will help absorb the pollutants as well as adding add some lovely colour for residents to enjoy. This event was funded through the UTCF grant with match funding from a local Charitable Trust.
Northumberland Street, Nechells
Another inner city planting funded through the UTCF grant, this one was in a peaceful courtyard in the centre of some Council flats. Fourteen year-nine children from nearby St. Matthew’s C of E Primary School excitedly shared lots of questions and facts about trees, and were eager to help improve the air quality and aesthetics of their local area by planting trees. ‘Trees are the earth’s lungs, we need them, so it’s good to plant more and more,’ one pupil explained. We hope that the seven lovely birch, maple and Magnolia trees will improve the view and the air for the residents of the flats for many years to come.
Lickey Hills Country Park, Longbridge & West Heath
Two of the three planned events at the Lickeys were held before ‘lockdown’ prevented us continuing. The first Lickeys visit was for our now annual Deutsche Bank ‘Woodland Workshop’, where the bank’s local staff members get a chance to learn some outdoor skills, and the Rangers benefit from their assistance on site. A group of over 20 bankers quickly got to work clearing brash and tree branches and trunks in a newly cleared area of woodland, and forming ‘dead hedges’ with the material. Dead hedges create a rich habitat for insects and birds (as well as providing an excellent opportunity for great teamwork!). After lunch, the group re-planted the area with around 500 new native sapling trees.
In what turned out to be our last public event of the season, almost 150 people joined us at the Lickeys for our annual ‘Friends and Family’ event, where people who have sponsored ‘Trees for Life’ with us come along to plant their trees themselves. Many of the trees had been dedicated in memory of loved ones, and extended family groups came along to remember their relative together. Others had received the trees as gifts to celebrate birthdays or other family occasions. Around 600 young native trees were planted in another area that had been recently cleared, just down the hill from the Visitor Centre. Some people were planting just for fun, and everyone felt it was a great way to spend time together as a family making memories.
Handsworth Park, Handsworth
On the first day of National Tree Week a public tree planting event to mark the James Watt Bicentenary was held at Handsworth Park, near to where James Watt lived. Despite it being a dank and dreary morning, around 42 volunteers, including nine children, turned up to help to plant 10 large hazel and walnut trees, both a wonderful food source for birds and small animals. Nut trees were chosen as James Watt planted many fruit and nut trees on his own patch. The event was supported by the Friends of Handsworth Park, and among the volunteers were members of Green S Welfare Force who have helped on numerous occasions.
Perry Hall Park, Perry Barr
The event at Perry Hall Park was initially postponed due to flooding in February, and then unfortunately the re-scheduled date fell victim to coronavirus measures, so we are grateful to the Woodland Management Team and Rangers at the Council for planting these trees on BTFL’s behalf.
Brandwood End Cemetery, Brandwood and Kings Heath
Another damp and muddy day saw a class of Year 6 pupils from St Alban’s Catholic Primary School continue the planting to replace the poplar trees that had to be felled the previous year. A further ten ornamental trees were added to the boundary. This year we had a special visitor in National Tree Week, as the Lord Lieutenant, Mr John Crabtree, OBE, and his wife Diana came to help. We were also supported by members of the Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery, a very active group of local volunteers who help to keep the Cemetery looking good, and run a hedgehog conservation project there too. After some refreshments, Dean, the local Ranger, took the children on a fascinating ‘walk and talk’ among the Giant Redwood trees in the cemetery.
Cotteridge Park, Bournville & Cotteridge
Our second planting of 2020 at Cotteridge Park was blessed with lovely winter sun, and this was appreciated by the seven year nine students from Kings Norton Girls’ School who were volunteering for the day in the park, along with 20 year one children from Cotteridge Primary School. The two groups of children worked well together to plant ten flowering red hawthorn trees along one edge of the park. The trees were requested by the Friends of Cotteridge Park to replace some that had been lost over the years.
Bournville Park, Bournville & Cotteridge
The sun shone again for us at Bournville Park when we planted ten ornamental cherry trees with Bournville Village Primary School and the Friends of Bournville Park. This event was supported by corporate sponsors T.A. Cook, and four of their staff also came along to help. The children enjoyed planting the beautiful blossom trees so much that they gave each tree a name! These trees were planted along one side of the park to replace some old apple trees that were removed recently, and join the alders that the school planted a few years ago with BTFL.
Harvest Fields Park, Sutton Roughley
Little Sutton Primary School once again trooped into Harvest Fields Park to add to the trees they have planted there before – this time it was School Council members from years two to six. As in previous years, they were joined by staff from Waitrose Four Oaks, who again supported the event through their Community Matters scheme. Six more fruit trees were added to the community orchard, and an ornamental white barked Himalayan birch tree was planted near to the WW1 commemorative statue in the park. The lovely staff in Harvest Fields Community centre rounded off the event perfectly with hot chocolate for everyone!
Falcon Lodge, Sutton Reddicap
A number of large specimen trees were planted on the Falcon Lodge estate on land owned and managed by the Housing Department, as part of the UTCF grant-funded project. BTFL did not organise the planting of these trees and we are grateful to Simon Needle, who was instrumental in gaining the funding from the Trees for Cities bid, and a handful of volunteers, who managed to plant 30 of the planned 44 trees before lockdown prevented further work.
Sycamore Recreation Ground, Yardley West & Stechford
Part of our River Cole project, the event at Sycamore Rec was notable as it was covered by BBC Radio 4’s Open Country programme. The presenter and producer were making a programme about Birmingham becoming a Tree City of the World, and came along to join us to interview volunteers and get a sense of the children’s enthusiasm for tree planting. Volunteers from a number of local companies joined children from Waverley School to plant 1000 whips on this riverside site in Yardley.
Two other sites were scheduled to be planted in this Ward, but both events unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown, so they have been re-scheduled for next winter.