Tag: Autumn colour

Forest School Fun in the Glorious Mud at Cotteridge Park

For our second planting of 2020 at Cotteridge Park we were surprised, shocked and dumbfounded, why? – It didn’t rain! As the winter sun shone down we lapped it up! Working with six, year nine students from Kings Norton Girl’s School who were volunteering for the day in the park along with 20 year one children from Cotteridge Primary School.

Not only was it about planting ten beautiful Hawthorne trees in the park today, but the sense of coming togetherness! With a big age gap between the students and not much in common at all at the beginning of the tree planting it was a very different story as we began to plant trees.

                 

The older students had already been at the park for two hours digging holes for the standard trees, Midland Red Hawthorns and did an amazing job considering how hard the work is. A slight obsession with worms and a chat about what constitutes a good breakfast for such energetic work were subjects we pondered together. The older students dug the holes in groups of three ready to work with the year one children planting the trees and re-filling the holes.

Friends of Cotteridge Park had organised the groups and we would like to say a big thank you to them. When the year one children from Cotteridge Primary School arrived they were raring to go and full of energy. It was their first day of Cottteridge Park Forest School and boy were these children ready to get muddy!

Grabbing spades the children lifted the soil and were eager to get the trees comfortable and stable in their new homes. As they all worked hard we watched in the distance as the Woodland team chipped all the Christmas trees that had been left in the park after the festive season.

Every Christmas tree left at Cotteridge Park will be part of a new path at the Franklin Road edge of the park – a great way to recycle all those Christmas trees! As the children dug they listened intently as they learned that every single tree planted today, once matured would provide enough oxygen for four people every day and each tree would drink 50-gallons of water every day. Wow! They all gasped in unison!

  The older and younger children gelled quickly and there was lots of giggling and gleeful gasps as they worked together as a dream team. As the ten trees planted were spread across the park the children were encouraged to run and scream their way to the next planting. Of-course the children obliged.

Every now and then the children would find a super-sized muddy puddle and with any hesitation all the children ran straight into it and splished and splashed to their hearts content. Not just because children, wellies, puddles and mud are a match made in heaven, but because the Forest School competition dictated that the muddiest forest school student won forest school student of the day. We couldn’t think of a better way to win any competition than getting down right muddy!

 

It never ceases to amaze us at BTfL and of course fill us with joy when we see how different generations pull together, laugh, giggle and bond because of the pure joy of planting trees. It’s a magical combination that works every time.

         

As all the trees were planted just in time for lunch so we thanked the students for their hard work and waved goodbye to students from both schools. Noticing they all left with smiles and their faces and a sense of real achievement.That’s what planting trees together does and here at BTfL we couldn’t be happier about it! Please check out the photo album here 

Welcome to the Roaring 20’s and Boy did Little Sutton School Council Roar!

Well, welcome to the roaring 20’s! And what a roaring start we had to our first tree planting of 2020!

Little Sutton School Council were our guest tree planters today at Harvest Fields Park in Sutton Coldfield. Years two to six, along with four hardworking staff members from Waitrose Four Oaks, Cllr Jane Mosson, covering the Roughley Ward and Viv Astling our wonderful BTfL committee member. We would like to thank Waitrose Four Oaks for their kind generosity in funding the fruit trees we planted today through their Community Matters Programme.

After three great causes were showcased in their store, customers got to choose their favourite by placing their green disc in their chosen charity box. Then £1000 is split between those good causes. Waitrose Four Oaks have also funded previous plantings at Harvest Fields.

   

The weather was fair to middling, the rain held off and the children were eager to plant their community orchard. Today we planted two Quince trees, (Cydonia Portugal and Cydonia, two apple trees, Malus Spartan and Malus Scrumptious, two pear trees, Pyrus William’s Bon Chretien and Pyrus Onward, as well as a beautiful Himalayan birch Betula utilis var Jacquemontii to commemorate the First World War Memorial at Harvest Fields Park, funded by Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council

A chat with the children on the way to the site showed how engaged they are with local issues and environmental issues, keeping their school and the surrounding area their number one priority. From a regular local litter pick, a stringent school recycling agenda to patrolling school car parking areas to ensure their students safety is paramount. Next on the list, they are voting on whether they should invest in a compost heap and of course planting even more trees!

After a quick survey of the area, a spade safety check the 14 children split into pairs, buddying up with one of the adult tree planters. All the children use Harvest Fields Park as a regular base for play, dog walking, exercise and meeting points so they were all eager to get planting.

The children were adding trees to the community orchard where previous children from Little Sutton School had planted fruit trees last year. These trees are doing exceptionally well! We talked about trees and how important they are as we dug our spades in and stomped down the earth. Once again we were all impressed with how much knowledge the children have about the environmental value of trees. As we finished the tree planting we took a celebratory photograph with the fruit trees and the all-important Silver Birch tree planted to commemorate the First World War.

The staff from Waitrose, Phil, Laura and Sue were all smiles, Sue commenting on what a wonderful community event our tree plantings always are.  We couldn’t agree more Sue! It was a proud morning all round.

As the Woodland Team surveyed our planting the large heavy hammer that’s used to push the stakes into the ground became a talking point. ‘I’m as strong as Thor,’ said one student as he lifted the heavy hammer. Soon there was a queue of boys and girl’s willing to prove their strength, one after the other they lifted that hammer with a roar – and of course some supervision. It was clear these children had spinach for breakfast!

After exerting all that energy, it was time for a tea-break, a Communitea – break! After dumping our muddy boots in the foyer of the Harvest Fields Conference Centre, it was tea, biscuits and chitchat all round. A chance for everyone to reflect on the tree planting, get to know each other a bit better and celebrate every new tree planted! We would like to extend another thank you to Harvest Fields Conference Centre for providing the refreshments and warm wonderful hospitality!

 

  

So, our first tree planting of 2020 was a wonderful success, but here at BTfL, we always start they year how we mean to go on and by then end of the 2020 tree planting season we will have planted 95,000 trees in total. Only 5000 short of that magic 100,000 trees planted! In between we look forward to planting with wonderful schools just like Little Sutton Primary School because it’s always a great treat or us at BTfL to share the legacy of planting trees to improve our city and our lives and the world – one tree at a time!

Please check out our Harvest Fields tree planting photo album here,

 

 

 

 

Blooming at Bloomsbury Park Tree Planting!

As 30 eager children waited in their school reception area BTfL asked, ‘are you ready to plant some trees?’ ‘Yeeesssss!’ Came the excited reply. Year six pupils from Cromwell Junior and Infant School in Nechells couldn’t wait to get to Bloomsbury Park where the rest of the BTfL team were waiting for the children’s arrival.

A sense of celebration and ownership came from the children about the park. ‘This is our park, we come here all the time.’ One student exclaimed.  ‘I hope my mum is watching out of our flat window to see me planting trees in the park.’  After a brief safety talk from BTfL we could see the children were itching to get going.

The children put on their gloves and stood to attention with their spades in hand awaiting instructions. We explained that we were planting 10 trees in the park, five Prunus Royal Burgundy, Flowering Cherry and five Betula Albosinensis Fascintion, Floweing Cherry. In a few summers time Bloomsbury Park, will be positively blooming with the blossoms from the ten trees planted today, adorning the park with lots of lovely colour.

 

‘Are these our trees? One student asked. ‘Yes, they are your trees, and they are everyone’s trees to enjoy and celebrate and enjoy,’ BTfL explained. The children rounded into groups of threes’ and fours’ and worked brilliantly as a team, sharing spades and working together with smiles and a lot of pride as the children explained that this is the first tree they had ever planted. – Let’s hope it’ not the last!

There were lots of questions from the children as the dug their spades into the mounds of earth, asking what the catkins on the trees were, how many squirrels live in the park.’ We couldn’t answer the squirrel question, but we tried to spot as many squirrels as we could in that hour and asked the children to do some squirrel spotting next time they came to enjoy the park. Filling in these large holes, keeping the trees straight as the earth was thrown in was tiring work, but the children kept up the good work.

 

They were clearly very proud when they saw the ten trees standing to attention in a perfect like along the boundaries of the park path. And as we shovelled the last mound of earth into the last hole the children were already asking when they could plant more trees. Positively blooming with pride at their achievements.

Never have trees been so talked about, never have trees been so important in defeating the climate crisis. It’s clear the children of Cromwell Junior and Infant School know all about trees and their benefit and we urge them to share their enthusiasm about trees with every person they meet.

Let’s not forget how beautiful trees are and for children living in inner city areas trees are especially good for their physical and mental wellbeing. We hope these children learn to love trees for their aesthetic and healing properties. So, next time you are in Bloomsbury Park or any other wonderful place with a tree.

Just learn to be – with a tree!

Please check out the rest of the photo album for our Bloomsbury Park planting by clicking here