Tag: Planting

Nick-Names for Every Tree at Bournville Park Tree Planting

The sun shone again for us at Bournville Park last week when we planted 10 ornamental cherry trees with Bournville Village Junior School. Bournville Friends of Parks and our wonderful corporate volunteers of the day T.A. Cook.

With 20 eager children and four brilliant volunteers from T.A. Cook, our corporate volunteers have been operating for 25-years so the company decided that to celebrate their 25th year they do 25 good deeds this year! What a wonderful idea! So the staff  voted for the 25 good causes they wanted to help. Lucky for BTfL were have been chosen as one of T.A. Cook’s good causes and we couldn’t be happier about that. Our planting event came at the request of Joan Hosfield, one of the Friends of Bournville Park.

Bournville Village School is right next to the park so the children walked over to meet us at the planting site. Eager to get going, a quick spade safety talk, the children asked all about the trees they were planting. In-fact they were so impressed by the trees thy decided to give each tree a name. Bob was our first tree, then came Alex, the children decided on a gender-neutral name for tree number two, then came Archie, Jeffy, Jefferina, Sunflower, Sparkle, Ben, Blossom and Sharon.  All great names we are sure you will agree. The children were very impressed that they were planting blossom trees and could enjoy their beauty each Spring. They enjoyed chatting about football with our T.A. Cook volunteers, there was some friendly rivalry when it was discovered there was a mix of Birmingham City and Aston Villa fans planting trees together. Worms seemed to be the biggest subject of the day, there were plenty of worms in the park and the children kept finding them, studying them, before gently placing them back in the ground. As we planted 10-standard flowering cherries on the left side of the stream, the children admired more standard trees on right-hand-side of the stream that had been planted with Bournville Village Junior School and BTfL on a couple of years before.

 

We were also treated to a visit from Liz Clements, Councillor for the Bournville and Cotteridge Ward. Liz was very interested to see what BTfL were planting and how we were working with the school children and T.A. Cook and Friends’ of Bournville Park and was thrilled to see more trees planted in Bournville Park.

   

Not only did the children enjoy planting trees, enjoying the fresh air and the wonderful tem work, they were great multi-taskers too, teaching us here at BTfL how to floss. ‘Floss,’ we said, we do that twice a day after brushing our teeth! ‘No, no, no!’ The children insisted, ‘flossing is a dance.’We were then, treated to full display of flossing from the children, while digging! After a five-minute floss failure from BTfL we decided tree planting was our forte – and flossing wasn’t!

Please check out the photo album here

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,

 

 

 

 

Rain and Lots Of Smiles at Loxton Park With Year One Eco-Enthusiasts

Well it rained – again at our tree planting event at Loxton Park! But we don’t need sunshine to make our day sunny when we have 25-super smiley children from St Joseph’s Infant’s School, Nechells to brighten our morning.

These 25 wonderful children were so eager to get planting trees they got to site extra early – but we don’t mind that at all. In three shifts the Year One children arrived by school mini bus with their high vis jacket on and a can-do attitude they were our youngest bunch of tree planting pupils this year.

While the Woodland team finished digging the holes for the ten flowering cherry trees, we had a game of Hokey Cokey, sang some beautiful Christmas carols, we looked for worms, played tree statues and sang Jingle Bells, not to mention dance the soil stomping dance!

         

It was a wonderful morning as the children were eager to get going. The year one children fuelled up on their school snack of bagels and bananas were eager to grab their spades and dig some soil to plant the trees.  Despite the children being our smallest so far they really-engaged and weren’t put off by the rain or digging the trees down with soil and lots of muddy stomping.

How many are we planting…? What colour will the flowers on the trees be…? Will the flowers be the same colour as my pink wellies….?

Their most poignant statement, ‘we couldn’t survive in the world without trees, they keep us alive.’

‘No,’ we agreed, ‘trees really are nature’s lungs! It’s amazing how switched on young children are when it comes to the most important environmental issues.

The children wandered from one tree to another ensuring that every tree was dug down, was planted in a straight line, and that it was happy in the ground. As the rain got heavier the children didn’t lose their sense of humour and asked whether we should water the trees with a knowing smile.

As we dug and spread the soil the children shared their knowledge about trees and how important they are to our environment. Planting a tree is a beautiful, meaningful, symbolic thing to do. All the children were exceptionally proud to have planted trees in their local area to help everyone breathe cleaner air. Even at aged five and six these children were waxing lyrical about all the amazing benefits of trees.

 

    It was quite clear that the children love trees of all kinds, but when they are given an opportunity to plant a tree it’s gives them practical experience and pride in knowing that they have changed the world that little bit for the better. And as we packed up for the day the children explained how it a Christmas lunch at school that day. Not to mention a surprise Christmas film afternoon the school had planned for the children.

And as great days go, planting trees, eating Christmas Dinner and a cinema afternoon, as well as super smiles all morning – well that’s a pretty good day as far as we are concerned!

Liz Shipman, teacher at St Joseph’s school say: ‘ It was a cold and wet December morning when we arrived at Loxton Park excited and full of expectation at the thought of planting trees. We weren’t disappointed for Justine and her team were just as eager to involve us in the project and pass on their knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm for planting trees here in Nechells. It was a wonderful opportunity to get outdoors, get close up to trees and learn why they are so important to our lives. Thank you again for allowing us to be part of this amazing scheme!

 

 

Please check out the rest of the photo album form the Loxton Park planting 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

 

Tree Planting with St Alban’s School Amongst the Giant Redwood Trees!

Our first school planting of National Tree Week and what a treat it was to do it in the wonderful company of St Alban’s Catholic School, year-six students. Thirty students who were enthusiastic, excited, curious and full of energy. It was another soggy day, full of mud, mud glorious mud at Brandwood Cemetery!

Brandwood Cemetery Tree Planting with St. Alban’s Catholic School

Wellies caked in the good stuff these wonderful students couldn’t wait to get hold of their spades to dig in the 10 wonderful trees, two Crab Apple, two Oak, two Sweet Gum, two Tulip Trees and two Flowering Cherry. Care and consideration was taken to dig them down, make sure they were straight and smile proudly next to their newly planted trees for photos. One student saying, ‘I love the mud, it’s great to get covered in it while planting trees.’

As well as St Alban’s students’ we had other special guests too. To help us celebrate National Tree Week the Lord Lieutenant, Mr John Crabtree, OBE, the Queen’s representative in the West Midlands came to help at the planting.

It was wonderful to welcome such a special guest. Mr Crabtree was accompanied by his wife, Diana and with spades in hand both worked with the children planting the trees.  There was lots of chatter and laughter and talk of the wonder of trees and the beautiful Brandwood Cemetery.

We also welcomed, Mike Leddy, Labour Councillor for the Ward of Brandwood and Kings Heath, it was lovely to be in such great company.  Not to mention the wonderful, Friends of Brandwood Cemetery.

Brandwood Cemetery Tree Planting with St. Alban’s Catholic School

Then the children and our guests worked so hard we stopped for some well-earned, tea and biscuits. Pulling off muddy boots in the boot room of the Brandwood End Cemetery Lodge was a skill-in-itself. There was giggles and laughter as 30-children tried so hard to pull off those slippery boots.  And there was a moment we thought we had brought more mud in with us than what was left outside! But nothing gets those energy levels zipping back up than a tea-break. While the whole crowd drank tea and ate biscuits there was lots of talk about trees, important conversations under the banner of Communitea! A wonderful way for communities to engage with each other about the matters that we all care about.

After a well-earned rest the children were eager to learn a little bit of history about Brandwood End Cemetery and enjoyed a nature walk with Birmingham City Council Ranger, Dean Paul and Birmingham Trees for Life.

Dean pointed out beautiful oak trees over 500-yers-old. ‘Wow! The children gasped in unison. But as wondrous and beautiful as every tree is in Brandwood Cemetery – it was the Giant Redwoods that dominated the day. With necks craned upwards staring at the 110-ft tall majestic line of Giant Redwood trees the children were eager to find out as much as they could about their history. Hands stretched up into to the air, Dean answered all their quick-fire questions.

‘Yes, these trees were around before the dinosaurs…., they are the tallest trees on the planet…., they are the second biggest organism in the world…., they absorb more carbon dioxide than any other tree…., their root system is 50-ft deep…, they are resistant to insects, fire and rot…., they will be 50-ft taller in 50-years!

Their teacher Catherine Ingram said, ‘our children have had a wonderfully new experience today with Birmingham Trees for Life and they have learnt a lot of really interesting stuff about trees!’

Brandwood Cemetery Tree Planting with St. Alban’s Catholic School

When we arrived at the cemetery there were 1800 trees standing proudly. At the end of the planting we celebrated planting ten more. Ten more trees every student that planted can visit again and again – a legacy they can all enjoy.

Seeing the children’s enthusiasm, somehow we don’t think this will be their last visit to the cemetery to enjoy the wide and varied collection of trees, the trees they planted today and of course the, Giant Redwoods. To see more photos from Brandwood Cemetery planting please click here.

our wonderful group of volunteers

‘We’re Going to Save The World – One Tree at A Time!’

On the first day of National Tree week BTfL got off to a wonderful start with the help of some amazing volunteers! Handsworth Park was the place, planting trees to mark the, James Watt Bicentennial Celebrations and National Tree Week were the occasions.

What started out as a dank and dreary morning soon turned into a wonderful community celebration of trees and togetherness, a common cause, a progressive dynamic when 42 volunteers arrived, including nine children to support this very special planting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a safety and tree planting talk with Simon Needle, Principal Arboriculturalist, at Birmingham City Council the volunteers were eager to grab a spade and find their X-marks the spot – even the nine excited children who were looking forward to playing in the mud and finding worms!

 

     

We were planting 10 standard Hazel and Walnut trees, both a wonderful food source for birds and Small animals. Digging deep it was hard work, but no one even stopped mid planting for a cuppa. Everyone was super eager to get these wonderful trees in the ground and add to the beauty and biodiversity of Handsworth Park.

As well as the local-residents taking pride in their park, other volunteers had come from much further afield to plant trees. One lady from Kidderminster proudly told us while digging a hole, ‘I came, because trees are so important and we have to save the planet one tree at a time’

‘Here, here,’ we applauded.

There was a determined stance from some of the younger planters too.  Angad, 12, said, ‘I told my mum, it’s your generation that has spoilt the planet, it’s time we started putting it right, that’s why we are here to plant trees, to do something positive.’

We are never surprise and always delighted at the younger generation’s determination to make their planet healthy again.

There were 10-members form Green Welfare who came from all over the country to help plant trees. Getting stuck in immediately there was a real sense of pride at digging down and securing the trees in the ground.

 

Then there was Matty, here with his Mum and his two sisters, Matty, a toddler became the cutest measuring stick of all. When Matty stood in the hole and the hole came up to his waist we knew the hole was just deep enough to plant the tree!

Digging down Matty’s mum placed Matty in the hole, not quite deep enough, more digging and she tried again, still not quite deep enough.

Third time lucky Matty’s mum held Matty in the hole again, it was the perfect depth! There was applause and cheers and some laughter as Matty’s mum and lifted Matty out of the hole.

Who says a toddler can’t plant trees too – not us!

  Matty’s mum said. ‘We’ve never planted a tree publically before, but we came because we use this park a lot. It’s good to be part of something good and it will be lovely to watch these trees grow.’

All morning there was a distinct sound of spades cutting through earth, tree stakes being hammered into the ground as well as chatter and laughter all morning between volunteers. 42 strangers together like they had known each other forever.

That’s the thing about doing something for the common good, it brings people together, it makes us happier, we feel empowered, proud and like a team.

We’re not just planting trees to save our environment and make the park look even more beautiful. We are investing in each other, by celebrating our common goals out in the fresh air, enjoying exercise, and everything Birmingham’s beautiful green spaces offers.

Every tree planted that day is testament to National Tree Week and a legacy to everyone who stuck a spade in the ground to plant a tree. A legacy that will last the lifespan of these trees, that’s 80 to 100-years!

Something these volunteers can show and tell their children and their grandchildren.

What a fantastic prospect!

Please click here to see more photos of this event

 

National Tree Week Begins – What Can You Do? Pledge to Plant a Tree or Two!

Well, today is the first day of National Tree week 23rd November – 1st December

Apart from celebrate this wonderful occasion what else can you do – pledge to plant a tree or two!   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look around you wherever you go, outside your front door, the local park, a city street, your nearest school, or community space, your garden, your neighbours garden.

Trees are never far from your eye-line wherever you go or wherever you are.

Imagine just for a moment, a world without trees, not only would we lose their huge environmental value and impact, but their positive affect on our wellbeing, a home and food source for wildlife, and their majestic beauty!

But we need more and more and more trees. By the end of the tree planting season 2019-2020 Birmingham Trees for Life will have planted 90,000 trees in 16-years. But we’re not about to stop any time soon.

One mature tree can absorb 48lbs of CO2 per year. Multiply that by 90,000that’s epic!

 

We spread the message every day that trees do matter – they absorb carbon dioxide, toxins and smells, they produce oxygen, reduce flooding, increase shade, contribute to our overall health and well-being and improve the aesthetics of the landscape.

Throughout the tree planting season of November – March we work with school, communities Friends of Parks, businesses and volunteers to plant more trees.

What we and every individual or community we work with do is -create a tree legacy!

Planting a tree and watching it mature over years is a wonderful experience.

So today Birmingham Trees for Life is asking you for a small, but wonderful pledge!

Ask what you can do?  Plant a tree or two!

You don’t have to plant a huge old oak tree, you don’t need a large space, you don’t even need to be a green fingered guru – you just want to make the world a better place!

Here is a list of of some beautiful, low maintenance, small trees to plant in your garden.

Your own tree legacy in the making….

Rowan – beautiful autumn colour, beautiful flowers in spring which are great for bees, producing berries in late summer which are a good for birds. Many smaller varieties are suitable for gardens.

Crab Apple  – lovely blossom in spring and small apples in autumn which are great food for birds

Cherry – blossom in spring and then small fruits for the birds in autumn, beautiful autumn colour.

            

Hawthorn – lovely blossom in May for the bees and berries in autumn/winter for the birds.

 

Holly – there is a nice variegated variety which doesn’t have very spiny leaves

These are just a few examples of beautiful trees you can plant to improve your environment, make your garden look stunning and attract a wide variety of wildlife.

Always check the eventual height and spread of a tree before buying it for planting in your garden, to check it is an appropriate size for the space they have for it! There is lots of advice on how to plant a tree is available online – click here

Keep young trees regularly well watered for the first two years while in leaf (March-Sept) until they have established a good root spread.

Happy pledging! Happy planting!

 

 

 

 

Almost time to visit Harvest Fields Centre again…..Wednesday!

BTFL will be back adding to our last tree planting at Harvest Fields Centre with pupils from Welsh House Farm Primary School and staff from the  sponsors of the trees……Waitrose, Sutton Coldfield.  Last year we were joined by the Lord Mayor but this time they are ‘going it alone’!  Fingers crossed for good weather.

Planting dates for Autumn/Winter/Spring season

The leaves begin to fall and the nights draw in, so its time for Birmingham Trees for Life to get some of the school pupils and Friends of Parks groups around the City planting more trees !

We start our year in Sutton Coldfield with the pupils of Little Sutton Primary and staff of Waitrose, planting some fruit trees in the grounds of the Harvest Fields Centre. Senneleys Park, Welsh House Farm, Kingston Hill Park and Bromfield Close follow in quick succession ………and then it is Christmas!

These first 5 plantings are fairly small with between 10 and 15 standard trees, so the pupils manage very well on their own with the task.  In the New Year we start with the larger sites and larger plantings with anything from 10 large standards to 2500 smaller ‘whips’. Its on the larger sites that we always welcome help from volunteers so if you live close to any of the sites below and would like to come along and help- contact us on jane.edwards@btfl.org.uk or via this site.

Allens Cross Recreation Ground-B31 5AT                   17th January

Glebe Farm Recreation Ground-B33 9NE                     31st January

Perry Common Recreation Ground- B23 5DR             13th February