Today we planted 1500 native British trees at Batchelors Farm Park, next to the River Cole, with volunteers from Dawat-e-Islami, 26 children from Alston Primary School, five teaching staff, six home schooled children, Councillor Waseem Zaffar is the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, Deputy Lieutenant to the Queen Heidi Doughty along with her husband Jim as well as the BTfL team.
A large team for a large job.
Our wonderful volunteers from Dawat-e-Islami, plant trees across continents and have 70 groups spread across the globe and the charity has recently completed planting one million tree around the world. This brilliant team started our planting off, with the wonderful company of Councillor Waseem Zaffar.
Then our school children arrived, a group full of energy, eager to get going and each with a wide smile as we handed them a spade. Not only did their group include children from the schools Green Team, but their UNICEF Ambassador, group leaders and children that had done something deserving of a trip out of school to plant some trees.
As the BTfL team carefully showed the children how to plant the whip and sapling trees, there was a slow chorus building of, ‘Dig, Dig, Wiggle, Wiggle, Stomp, Stomp!’ Now if you follow BTfL, you may or may not know we always encourage a stomp dance when our trees are in the ground.
Because dancing is good for body and mind, but this beautiful added morning chorus in the lovely sunshine was just wondeful to hear.
The children’s first collective gasp was, ‘1500 trees, how are we going to do that?
Well we replied, ‘with a dig, a wiggle and a stomp!’
The childrens second collective gasp was when they we introduced the children to Heidi Doughty, Deputy Lieutenant to the Queen. Heidi explained to the children how eveyr tree planted today woudl be added to the QGC tree planting map and the Queen would be presented it with it at the culmination of her Platinum Jubilee year.
The children were very pleased and very proud to know that their efforts would be recorded on an official map and the Queen woudl actually see it.
‘Do you know there are 70 bathrooms at Buckingham Palace, a cinema, a ballroom….’ The children told us. ‘We have been studying all about the Queen and where she lives.’
Then the childen darted off in different directions covering a very large semi-circular area planting their trees. The children as small as they were grabbed their spades with both hands and mustered up huge amounts of effort to dig deep and stomp again and again.
We were flabbergasted at their energy levels.
While our adult volunteerr zipped through 100, 200, 300….
Then there were our super home schooled children, all five of them didn’t stop to catch their breath as their whips were put in the ground in record time.
They were even going to write about their experience with BTfL once they got back into class.
For the middle of March we did not anticipate how much sunshine we would be blessed with, but working in the sunshine is thirty work, one of the Dawat-e-Islami team suddenly appeared with bottles of water. It was very welcome as we had all been working so hard we had built up a mighty thirst. And with that came a cheers to trees when of course we all clinked our bottle to celebrate more trees, cleaner air, a greener space and a prettier park!
After resting, refueling and recharging, the groups were stright back digging holes, working in threes and fours.
‘We love digging, we love planting these trees, and we love this park.’ The children explained.
When faced with a small twig, with no buds on it and no leaves, one of th children asked our Woodland Team, ‘what’s this tree called?’
After studying hard, he said, ‘give me a minute, let me think.’
One pupil insisted, ‘c’mon try again, keep trying.’ with an expectant look.
‘Hazel, it’s Hazel,’ he quickly replied.
With smile she skipped off to plant her Hazel tree, and we were safe in the knowledge that she would share her findings with her fellow pupils.
And before we had chance to take another breath we had no more trees left to plant!
So with our celebratory group shot and another beautiful ear-splitting chorus of, ‘what do we love? – TREES! ‘
It was time for the children to get back to school to eat some well derserved lunch.
The teaching staff form Alston School told us how much fun and how much the children had enjoyed their morning, that is always music to our ears and with a collective wave, we said goodby and watched the children walk off into the distance, all the time chattering trees!
It was also a huge thak you to our adult volunteers and the home schooled children, their hard work made our morning. And as we said our goodbyes we decided that next season we would hopefully meet again to do it all over again.
And if people want to come back again and again we consider that a successful outcome.
And the secret to that success – well you all know by now – TREES, TREES AND MORE TREES!
A huge thank you to Syed Fuzail Attari and his Dawat-e-Islami Midlands team, Alston Primary School, children and staff, our home schoolers, Deputy Lieutenant to the Queen Heidi Doughty and her husband Jim, Cllr Waseem Zaffar, The Woodland Team, Jim and Ron and our BtfL chairman Geoff Cole.
Please view the photos of the day here