Tag: Tree Officers

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 

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

 

St Albans Catholic Primary School replace lost trees in Brandwood End Cemetery

St Albans Catholic Primary sent members of their School Council, and helpers, along to Brandwood End Cemetery to plant the first 15 trees in what we hope will be an ongoing project. In late 2018 over 60 large Poplar trees had to be felled as they had become unsafe due to age and disease.  The Friends (FBEC) and the Tree Officer appealed to Birmingham Trees for Life  for replacement trees and we were fortunate to be able to support this project. We were joined on site by three local Councillors, the Park Ranger for the area and two of Birmingham’s Tree Officers.

We were all looked after very well by The Friends (FBEC) who provided hot drinks, squash and biscuits for the workers- as well as pitching in alongside pupils to plant the trees. Lots of photographs available via this link !

Great start to 2019 alongside the city’s Woodland Team.

Birmingham Trees for Life may be the organisers of all these lovely tree planting events across the City- but without the muscle of Birmingham City Council Woodland Team and the support of the Tree Officers we would not be able to plant the large numbers of trees that we do. This year we hope to reach our 80,000th!

Every planting event either requires the digging of tree pits or the mole ploughing of furrows for whips. Our trees need to be delivered to site and most importantly……our spades! No matter the weather we can rely on the lads of the Woodland Team to be ready when our planters (usually schools or volunteer groups) arrive on site.

We often forget how much we depend on them and their good will….so lets have a ‘shout out’ to the whole team !!

Today we were also assisted on site by two of the Tree Officers for the South of the City, who are frequently involved in decisions to remove trees- so especially enjoyed this opportunity to work alongside pupils from St Albans RC Primary and local Councillors to put some trees back !