Tag: Lickey Hills Rangers

Our Friends and Family Event + 99995 Trees Planted = 99995 very special memories!

For 16-years we have planted trees and that’s 16 Friends and Family tree planting events, traditionally the last event of our season – and today’s Friends and Family planting event couldnt be more poignant! Not only does it bring us to a total of 99995 trees in the ground, but 99995  very special memories for each and every person that has ever joined us at a BTfL tree planting event and that is nearly 14,000. But it brings us to the end of another tree planting season where, common ground, a great cause, commitment and community is always the key to our success.

Today 68 people joined us, 14 of those were children of all ages, eager to dig some holes and plant some trees. There are many reasons people join us at our Friends and Family events. To remember a person that has passed on, to celebrate a birthday, an anniversary, a birth, to improve the environment, to off set their carbon footprint,   to be connect with nature or because of a total love of trees, or just because…

Today’s Friends and Family event is two years late, the pandemic, put a stop to any tree planting for 18-months. And while some people committed to the Friends and Family event 18-months ago, some may not have been able to make it today. So we just wanted to reassure any of you that couldnt make it today, that every tree planted today by BTfL, was dedicated to you and yours.

Here, our Chairman Geoff Cole explain why we are here today

We enjoy chatting to everyone at this event and understand why they are here.

Dan told us, ‘I’m 30 this year, it’s a big birthday and I wanted to plant 30 trees, I’m half way through and counting. It will be the World Cup Final 2022 on my actual birthday, so of course the second big win of the year after planting these trees would be to see England in the World Cup final!

There were two other specal birthdays too. Beryl had donated to  BTfL Friends and Family event for her friend Caroline to celebrate her 60th birthday, she’s now nealry 62! Then there was the son who had donated to BTfL for his Mom’s 70th birthday, that was also nearly two years ago and now she is 72, but when it comes to planting trees, there is never a wrong time and it’s never too late to plant them. Gillian was also planting in memory of her huband Stephen, and wanted her trees to be as close to the bluebells growing as possible.

We had a wonderful family of 20, planting memory of a husband, father, brother, uncle and a friend. Some of that family group had travelled for Switzerland and France to be with us today.

Sue, one of our dedicated BTfL committee members was here today as part of our team, but also to plant an oak tree and other sapling trees in memory of Ronnie Leckey, ther father of Sue’s friend Eve who sadly died late last year. Sue says; “Just before Christmas I was able to send emails to Ronnie’s children and grandchildren – five families living around the world, including BTfL cetificates thanking them for thir generous donation towards the planting today.  They thought it was a great Christmas present and a great way to remember Ronnie who loved trees and woods. Although none of the families could be here today I have sent videos and photographs of the young trees we planted on their behalf, with the location of the woods using (What3Words) so that they can one day come and vist the new woodland we all created today.’

Ruben, (two) and Orla, (four) were planting in memory of ther Nan, Joy. Even aged two Ruben was determind to plant some trees and then some more trees.

The Green S Welfare team join us at a lots of our plantings and over 20 of their amazing team helped us plant trees today. And at very planting they bring an amazing energy and enthusiasm that always pops and fizzes at our tree plantings with a refreshing evervescence!

 

Today we can add another 1500 trees to the Queens Green Canopy Map  where every tree planted this year is gifted to the Queen to celebrate her Plantinum Jubilee. Today we had Heidi Doughty join us, Deputy Leiutenant for the West Midlands, representing Lord Leiutenant John Crabtree, along with her husband, Profesor Jim Storr. Here standing with Viv Astling, our dedicated BTfL committee member.

Today Heidi gave a talk to all our Friends and Family volunteers explaing the importance of the Queen’s Green Canopy in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.

Jess and Jay have joined us before as volunteers at one of our school plantings and enjoyed themselves so much, they wanted to come back, but this time they brought their daughter Laura, (10). Who enjoyed planting trees, but also enjoyed the wildife at the Lickey Hills, espcially the birdlife and while we were planting Laura was lucky enough hear a Jay in the trees, warning us all below their birdseye view away from their territory.

So its always with a smile, with joy, satisfaction, celebration and with a heavy heart we wave a fond farwell to Birmingham Tree’s for Life community tree planting season 2021/2022.

Only five more trees to plant until we reach our 100,000th tree! This will be  ceremonial planting a celebratory planting and we hope it will go some way to remember, every tree, every smile, every spade in the ground, every volunteer, every school and ear splitting scream of TREES that always punctuates the end of every planting. Because every time we scream trees we hope the world is listneing and will follow in our footsteps of – more trees please!

   

   

Please view the photo album for this event here

Thank you to everyone who attended our Friends and Family Tree Planting today, all the volunteers, Steve Hinton, Simon Needle, Geoff Cole, Sue Griffith, Viv Astling, Stevie Prior, Heidi Doughty, Ian Storr and last but not least, Debbie Needle, our Project Manager who without her hard work, determination, persistence, resilience and ability to cope in a crisis with a huge smile – none of this amazing tree planting season would’ve happened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dig, Dig, Wiggle, Wiggle, Stomp, Stomp was the Order of the Day Today!

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

96,295 trees planted as of today – the countdown has begun to our 100,000 tree!

Phew! That’s a big number and growing bigger by the day. And today was a beauiful day, with the sun shining and happy crowd of 30-students from King Edward IV Northfield School for Girls years seven and eight, two teachers, four amazing volunteers from HSBC, great supporters of BTfL, local Councillor, Debbie Clancy, a local resident Rex, Chief Ranger Steve Hinton.

Well if that’s not a crowd to be reckoned with, well we dont know what is.

It was such a lovely day the students and teachers  chose to walk to the site at Cofton Park 10,000 steps, they all eagerly told us.

It was a good start at their bit at saving the planet, walking, not driving.  And as we showcased our 700 sapling trees to plant they quickly rose to the the challenge of doing a little bit more, grabbing spades, grabbing trees and digging.  Firstly filling in gap in hedges that bordered the one of only two model aircraft flying fields in Birmingham. Planting Hazel and Hawthorne in the borders, amongst trees BTfL had planted five years previously, in the distance was a small woodland that BTfL had planted six years previously, way beyond in the distance were more fruit trees BTfL had planted in 2010.

Many of the trees planted today have been planted amongst that  trees planted six years ago by BTfL. So today was a way of celebrating those moment and those trees that are all thriving. It was good to show the students what their trees will look like in five years time.

   

They were very impressed.

As we enjoyed the weather and the company we saw a local resident exercising in the park. We couldn’t help but wonder if he wanted to mix up his exercise routine a little bit today.

   

As we offered the lovely Rex a spade he grabbed it with both hands, ‘I’d love to plant some trees with you, ‘he explained.

We explain that planting a tree/trees should be on everyone’s bucket list. And if you dont have believe in bucket lists, well plant a tree anyway, it always feels good to do it!

Like the ancient proverb goes, ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20-years ago, the second best time to plant a tree is now.’

Rex really did put his spade to great use, planting so many trees. He explained that sometimes when things don’t go to plan, it really can be a lovely thing. He was very happy to tell us that each day he comes to do his exercises at Cofton Park he can look at his trees and watch them grow. ‘Who knows what they will look like in five years time? Said Rex. ‘But I will certinly be here to check them out.’

We’re glad to hear it Rex.

And huge thanks to Cllr Debbie Clancy who came to plant trees with us, even with a knee injury and despite her discomfort told us she’d had a lovely morning with us, enjoy the sunshine, the trees and a dynamic community team effort morning.

It was a huge space we were covering and the groups split into four smaller groups, and seemed littel dots in the distance as we delivered more trees for the volunteers to plant – it was hard to keep up with them.

As always the students kept an individual tally, 20, so far, 25…, 30…, 48…, lets get to 60. ‘We’ve called this one ‘Gregory,’ said the girls.

At BTfL we always like to hear the reason for the tree names.

 

Well, he’s the main protagonist in, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid.’ Well if we werent pleased enough to know students were naming their trees, it was a double treat to know they were naming their trees after characters in books they felt inspired by.

Our HSBC volunteers, certainly put the work in too as they always do. This amazing team has been planting with us for some years now, and it’s always an amazing pleasure to work with them. Today was a good day to re-connect and make up for the lost 18-months in the great outdoors.  We all agreed that being outside in th sunshine and in wide open green spaces doing something positive is great for the mind, body and soul. Getting lost in the moment and immersing ourselves in nature – well there is nothing quite like it.

‘I was just really getting into this tree planting and now we have to stop because we have planted them all! ‘

It was almost as if our volunteers could’ve stayed here all day.

 

And of course the 700 tees we planted today dont just add to our 100,000th countdown, they will also be plotted on the Queens Green Canopy Tree Planting map to celebrate her Majesty’s platinum Jubilee.

Whenever we tell the students and volunteers this their is a short intake of breath, knowing that their trees, their planting event will forever be recorded on the QGC map, a little bit of  majesty for them to take home with them.

And as we asked our students, ‘well is this a better morning than doing trigonometry or english comprehension…? The resounding  response was, ‘Oh Yes!’

And as we ended our lovely morning tree planting we asked, ‘what ruled today?’

And as always came the  answer with ear splitting screams ‘Trees!’

We love it whena plan comes together!

A huge thank you today to King Edward VI Northfield School for Girls, students and teachers,  our HSBC volunteers, Cllr Debbie Clancy, Rex, the Woodland team today, namely (Ron), Ranger Steve Hinton, Geoof Cole and Viv Astling

Please view our photo album of this planting here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18-Months Late for School – Now We’re Back in the Classroom!

Well last week saw us back in school and like most students who recently returned to normally schooling after the Summer holidays we couldn’t be happier. It’s one 18-months since we have been in a classroom setting teaching children about trees, but better late than never!

Our first school educational session was with Lickey Hills Primary School. The school had  been so disappointed they couldn’t come and plant with us previously and that the pandemic had stopped us that we promised to visit them in school as soon as we could return.

What a lovely morning we had with 60 Year-Six children who were eager to share all their knowledge not just about tress, but about biodiversity, the power of nature, local wildlife, creepy crawlies, parasites and fungi!  With every question we saw a sea of hands waving eagerly at us wanting to share their thoughts, knowledge and opinions – and some the children’s knowledge was encyclopaedic!

We were very impressed.

As much as we enjoyed the classroom setting, when you are talking trees,  there is only one place to be – outside!

So with our tree identification booklets in our hands we ventured out onto Lickey Hills Primary School playing fields. There were many species of different trees and hedgerows, as well as a space where this year the new Lickey Hills Primary Forest School will start.

In pairs the children darted off in different directions, studying their tree guide and throwing tree names in their groups and discussing leaf shapes, bark texture and leaf fungus.

The black tar like patches on the leaves the Maple trees were spotted immediately. This is a fungal pathogen in the genus Rhytisma has taken hold. When the fungus initially infects a leaf, it causes a small wide, yellow spot. As the season progresses that spot spreads, eventually growing up to 2cm wide. The spreading yellow spot also changes colours as it grows, slowly turning from a yellow-green to a deep, tarry black.

The tar spots don’t emerge right away, but are typically obvious by mid to late summer. By the end of September, those black spots are at full size and may even appear to be rippled or deeply grooved like fingerprints. The fungus only attacks the leaves, leaving the rest of the maple tree alone – there came a collective phew from the children happy that their Maple trees were safe!

Children also looked for and found evidence of Gall Wasps whose tiny cocoons were embedded the tree leaves.

We reminded the children that September is also seed collecting month, discussing the way seeds are dispersed by wind, by animals, water or by exploding.

      We gave the children some soil and some Birch seeds to plant and nurture in the hope that they will grow and one day, in a few years time we will look up and see the Birch trees amongst all the other native specimens in the grounds of Lickey Hills Primary School – that was an exciting prospect for the children.

Working small teams was the key and almost all trees had been identified by the time we went back inside to discuss trees some more.

As the children settled back into their seats there was one very important virtue of trees that the children suddenly began to understand – trees affect on our wellbeing.

Smiles, flushed cheeks. energised and a really positive mood radiated around the classroom and we pointed out that  being amongst trees, nature and everything else green spaces have to offer has emotional and physical benefits that might not always be recognised immediately.

The children all agreed that outside waste of they favourite places to be because it made them happy – and after a wonderful morning with the children BTfL agreed that our mood had been enhanced too – not just by trees, but by the children’s knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for nature!

Thank you Lickey Hills Primary School – keep up the good work!

 

 

 

 

 

Planting Trees – What a Great Way to Make Amazing Memories!

Well, things haven’t panned out as any of us would have imagined. Who knew that our Friends and Family tree planting event just over a week ago would be our last tree planting and last tree planting blog of the season. This event happened before we were all told to socially distance ourselves from each other.  A day for people to come and plant a tree to celebrate, remember and create a memory or two – and we certainly did.

At the Lickey Hills Country Park a large group arrived bit by bit, some with spades, some without, some with wellies, some without, but everyone arrived with a smile and the intention of enjoying every minute of the morning.

 It was a short walk down the steep hill from the Lickey Hills Visitor Centre, passed the children’s playground, following the path to a large clearing surrounded by trees. After a brief introduction to the trees that were going to be planted, Lime, Field Maple, Oak and Hazel and a short spade safety talk people dispersed over a wide area to a spot they liked the look of and started planting. There was a quiet hum of cheery chatter amongst the group as they planted whip after whip.

 One lady commenting, ‘I thought I would be coming here to plant one tree, but I’ve already planted ten – it’s wonderful. The beauty of the Friends and Family tree planting event is that we are honoured to hear the many wonderful stories of why and who the trees are being planted for.

There was Dillon, a babe in arms, his family were planting trees to commemorate his birth. Even though Dillon was a year old his family helped him grab the spade with both tiny hands and while his Mum gently dug down into the earth he held onto the handle tightly, proving you are never too young to plant you first tree. Then there was the couple who loved the Lickey Hills and brought their Chow Chow dog for walks there every day. A friend had decided that planting trees to celebrate their engagement would be a wonderful gift.

  
Other people were planting trees in memory of a lost loved one. Whole families celebrating the life of their lost relative by planting trees that will grow into beautiful adult trees and remain there for decades to come.

Then we spoke to a group of wonderful women from the Birmingham branch of Soroptimist International, an organisation, empowering and transforming the lives and human rights of women across the world. The group were planting trees in memory of eight group members that had passed away and as a legacy to the amazing work Soroptimist International, Central Birmingham have done for 92-years!

There was also a 50th wedding anniversary celebration, while other people had come to plant trees to offset their carbon footprint. By the end of the morning we had achieved a wonderful legacy, planting a woodland of 600 native trees that will grow into a beautiful wooded area for people to visit and enjoy generation after generation.

Every tree planted that day was a memory, an emotion, a celebration of someone or something and we always feel privileged that we were part of that special moment! We thank everyone who came that morning to plant trees and we thank everyone who has planted trees with us this season, and we hope to see you all again next year!

Please see the photo album of this event here

If you would like to plant a tree in memory of someone or something or to celebrate an occasion please visit our website and click, sponsor tree planting

Thank you

Deutsche Bank’s Dream Green Team Wowed Us at Our Woodland Workshop!

Another dry day, we gave a collected, ‘Phew! Thank goodness for that.’ It was the day of our annual Woodland Workshop with the Green Team from Deutsche Bank, Birmingham and what a great bunch of energetic and enthusiastic people we had join us.

The Lickey Hills was our chosen location, surrounded by beautiful trees, in a shaded area needing a great deal of tidying, clearing and tree planting. The Lickey Hills is famous in Birmingham and one of the most cherished green spaces in the city. Three generations ago the Lickey Hills was used like a seaside town – just without the seaside. Families would flock to the area by tram from the far reaches of Birmingham to enjoy the fresh air and great outdoors, arcades, picnics, playgrounds and a distinct holiday feel. It was a place to get away from it all, kick back and relax. Years later not much has changed as the Lickey Hills is still a wonderful haven for every individual that visits to walk, play, exercise, relax, learn, enjoy nature and wildlife and we should feel very lucky to have it.

 

Our group were suitably suited and booted for the occasion, wellies, check, waterproofs, check, hats, scarves, gloves, check. A can-do attitude…, let’s get going…, where are the tools…, lets enjoy the great outdoors…, double check!

After a safety talk about how to use the more serious tools for cutting and sawing we made a collective march down the steep hill from the Lickey Hills Visitor Centre to the area we were would be working in. Ankle deep mud, surrounded by dead trees, branches, brambles, and very uneven ground were the challenges to get through before we even started the work, but Deutsche Bank aren’t easily put off. They rose to the challenge with vigour and a smile!

It seemed like a huge task, but this team got stuck in immediately moving like the wind, clearing the area, dragging branches, sawing large tree trunks into manageable sizes to move, brash clearing, dead hedge building, raking and tidying.

 

The beautiful dead hedge was added to by Deutsche Bank building a stronger and higher hedge to provide a welcoming habitat for wildlife, recycling the dead wood and a providing a cordoned off area for the new trees to grow.

It was a serious business, there was so much dead wood because of tree disease rangers have had the sad task of felling Larch trees in the area. But the happier task came as this newly cleared woodland would be clear enough to plant native species such as Hazel by the Green Team.

The team were motivated and inspired enjoying the fresh air, being outdoors and nurturing nature. Soon everyone was drawn to the huge tree trunks, the challenge of cutting them down to size was very satisfying. One of the team spotted a piece of tree trunk covered in mud on the forest floor, ‘could I take this home, I want to make a meat carving board?’ Recycling, salvaging, up-cycling, reclaiming, call it what you will. It was a happy volunteer who left that day with a large tree trunk loaded into the ranger’s Land Rover to take home.

By 1pm it was time for lunch which the team were more than ready for. Cheery chatter about the mornings work ensued and after fuelling back up on baked spuds, beans and cheese, a mug of tea and of course chocolate we were all ready for the second part of the woodland workshop – tree planting, our favourite bit!

Returning to the area and surveying at how much of the area the Green Team had cleared in one morning was fantastic and planting whips randomly spaced in chosen areas was also very rewarding. It might not look much now, but in a couple of summers these trees will be much bigger and thriving surrounded by an array of wild flowers such as Fox Gloves, Bluebells and Cow Parsley.

Planting the last few whips was a very satisfying end to the day and as we all trudged back up the hill wellies caked in mud there was a distinct sense of wellbeing among the group. And while the Green Team had worked so hard with such zest, they put up with changing weather conditions. We enjoyed a brief snow flurry, a rain shower, sleet, cloud and sunshine, proving that while you can always rely on fantastic volunteers – you can never rely on the weather.

Thank you to everyone for making a huge difference – your green credentials will continue to flourish at the Lickey Hills just like the Woodland you planted here today – Bravo!

 

See action shots here 

Please check out the photo album for this event here

Families and Friends sponsor trees with BTFL.

Families and friends who sponsor trees with BTFL get to come along and plant the trees themselves, in a Birmingham Park. This year our venue was the Lickey Hills Country Park.

This year,  over 50 ‘planters’ joined us to plant well over 500 new saplings in an area that has been recently cleared. Sponsors are able to make a donation and are welcomed, along with their families and friends, to join BTFL staff and volunteers planting up new areas of woodland. Often people are planting in memory of a loved one or maybe to celebrate a birthday or special event…….or just for fun!

After initial safety instruction they all set off to plant their saplings and we have tried to capture that moment and also the groups who were working together via this link. 

Why not join us next year? You will find details on how to take part on this web site. 

Civic Society Centenary Arboretum plaque unveiled at Lickey.

How lucky are we? Just half an hour before this photograph was taken we were all being buffeted and soaked as severe weather passed through the area, but by the time members of Birmingham Civic Society and BTFL staff  had walked down to the Arboretum area of the Lickey Hills…….the sun came out !

                            

Earlier this year several trees were planted by the Civic Society to extend this arboretum and today, as the plaque  was unveiled, two further trees were added. We had expected to be planting today in rain and wind but thanks to a break in the weather we all enjoyed a really pleasant morning, followed by tea and cake in the Lickey Hills Visitor Centre.  Lots of lovely photos are available in our album, via this link.