Tag: Tree planting in Birmingham

Five Trees planted at Penshurst Avenue – “Only 20 million More to Go!”

Well what a wonderful morning we had with 14 smiley Year Four pupils from Birchfield Community School in Aston. Proudly wearing their Birchfield Community School high vis jackets the children were well and truly prepared for our tree planting event at a small housing estate called Penshurst Avenue in Aston. Wellies on, check…., coats zipped up, check…., hats secure, check….. And off we went! Sunshine…. Check…., well  err we can’t have everything, but at least it wasn’t raining!

   

The children like all our other amazing eco-warriors we work with knew lots about the environmental value of trees and couldn’t wait to share their knowledge with us as we took the ten-minute walk from school to site. There were five trees to be planted and all the children were very excited about the prospect of planting their very first tree. The trees being planted were Hornbeam, which grows taller and narrower, picked specifically to be planted outside residential homes to avoid blocking out any light to residents homes. The second species we planted was the Silver Lime tree. This tree grows wider but was planted in more open areas.

The benefit of these trees that will nestling right next the very busy A34 dual carriageway. A very busy road with lots of congestion. These trees will help absorb the CO2 produced and add some lovely colour and foliage for resident to enjoy during the summer months.

The children eager to get going split into groups of three and put all their strength into dropping the soil around the tree in its new home. Five groups all working hard in their teams, sharing the workload and enjoying the cold but refreshing weather. ‘What are the plastic bits on the bottom of the tree for,’ one student asked. We explained that these loosely fitted plastic casings protected the trees trunk and bark from the damage a strimmer could do, ensuring the tree stays in the best health possible and damage free.

  While working together we could see there is a great sense of community in the area, passers-by waving and saying hello to the students, one shouting, ‘hey everyone, only 20-million more trees to plant, after that one, well done…’ ‘And then 20 million more after that!’ We shouted back.

The children worked exceptionally hard and didn’t stop at just planting, no, some of the children had collected some pebble along the way to decorate the bottom of the tree. ‘It’s tree jewellery, it looks nice! ‘One of the children said enthusiastically.

   

The children were very proud as they looked up at the trees they had planted. ‘Remember these are you trees, to enjoy and be talked about to all the people you know,’ we explained. ‘Yes!’ All the children agreed smiling. It was nice to finish our tree planting understanding that these children had just learned the wonderful value of trees, lessons they will take home and share with friends and family. A lesson all the children at our tree planting event recognise and value. And it’s a lesson none of us should ever stop learning! Please check out the photo album for this tree planting, here

 

 

Talk about Green Team – We Mean The Dream Team!

Well what a heady mix of interesting and amazing talent we had today at our tree planting. Where we planted at two sites on local housing land in Stockland Green. We were honoured today to welcome Stockland Green School and their Eco Council, the Green Team from Deutsche Bank, Birmingham and Birmingham’s Poet Laureate Richard O’ Brien. We were also accompanied by local councillor for the Bromford and Hodge Hill Ward, Diane Donaldson and her beautiful rescue dog, Gucci! After a chat with the eight students from Stockland Green School they had a very clear mandate for their local environment. ‘We really wanted to plant trees as we know how important they are to our environment and our health.’

‘We want our school to do more recycling, we want new bins and we want our school to ditch plastic, we campaigned for the school to get rid of plastic cutlery and we are well on the way to doing that.’ The students explained proudly. Next on the list is for Stockland Green School is to be free of plastic bottles, we can’t wait to hear about their progress.

 Walking to the site from Stockland Green School to the planting site the students noticed just how many trees lined the buy streets and dual carriageway, reducing CO2 and noise, acting as screening and looking beautiful. The students were eager to get planting on the first of two sites on housing land at Scafell Lane opposite Bleak Hill Allotments. Not only did they fill the holes, but with the help of the seven wonderful Deutsche Bank Green Team volunteers they dug the holes too.

We planted three varieties of crab apple tree today, ‘can you make a crumble with those apples? One student asked. We didn’t think it would taste that nice, but instead making a jelly or a jam might be preferable, but the real reason crab apples were chosen, because wildlife love them. The blossom is beautiful too.

Richard O’ Brien, Birmingham’s Poet Laureate was enjoying tree planting too, stating that it was the first time he had ever planted a tree – well Richard we hope and we are quite sure it won’t be your last!  As adults and younger students buddied up to plant the trees there was lots of chatter and lots of hard work. Digging, shovelling, stomping on the soil was quite a rhythmic and pragmatic approach to the planting, working as a team and admiring the trees that they had just planted.

After a quick de-brief, we all took the lovely walk across Witton Lakes to our second planting site, at Faulkners Farm Drive. There was plenty of wildlife and beautiful trees to look at as we chatted while walking. Our tree planting included Liquidamber Trees, that will provide beautiful striking colour in the Autumn months. Nestling the trees amongst the residential flats dotted here and there was a wonderful way of introducing trees, where there were none before.

There was lots of interest from local-residents and were pleased to hear that they would have something beautiful to enjoy in the autumn as well as the local wildlife. It was smiles all round as we finished planting the final tree with a feeling that we had achieved something lovely which of course together as the green, dream team we have!  You see planting trees can make you happy, planting trees make you calm and relaxed, planting trees is a community exercise, planting trees provides you with your own personal environmental legacy and planting trees can be cathartic. So, we say go and plant a tree! It will do you and your planet the world of good! Please check out the photo album for this blog here 

 

Testimonial from Catherine Harding, teacher from Stockland Green School – “I just wanted to say how wonderful this morning was! Being involved in the tree planting this morning has really opened our eyes to the importance of trees, and the students are really keen to watch them grow! So nice to be part  of a legacy in the community thee students live! ”

Poem about Tree planting at Stockland Green by Richard O’ Brien, Birmingham’s Poet Laureate

 

We Need All The Trees We Can Get   

After some training, even I can carve

a perfect New York pizza slice of turf,

but underneath this thin green strip

there’s levels of resistance:        see Chris switch,

one earphone in (a podcast; MMA)

from spade to fork,

mattock to wrecking bar,

and plunge and plunge and plunge

into the shallow store

of rubble.

 

‘Sometimes there’s more brick than soil,’

somebody says:

‘you want more soil than brick.’

 

And Chris, who graciously explained

what sets apart a shovel from a spade:

‘I’m just here to dig holes;

don’t get involved in any politics.’

 

The grass on turf put back

the wrong way up competing with

the new root-ball for water,

 

while a lady from the bank

takes black bags home to plant courgettes —

 

a quieter second life, having already

yielded to the Wyrley Birch Estate

their load of liquidambar.

 

Walking back to the car, we pass a stand

of beech and ash trees that long since outgrew

the schoolchildren whose job was treading flat

the earth around them ten years earlier

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 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

And We’re Off – A Great Start to BTfL’s First Tree Planting Event of The Season!

Well – what a great start to our BTfL Planting season 2019 -2020!

Not only did we get off to a flying start with the wonderful children and staff from World’s End Junior School in Quinton, we were also joined by Central News! Eager to film our first tree planting event. We were happy to welcome the Central News team to promote and celebrate the value of tree planting in Birmingham.

Tennal Lane Recreation ground in Quinton was our site today and after so much rain we were delighted the sun decided to shine on us from start to finish.  After a chatty 15-minute walk with 15 excited students and staff from  the school to the site it as quite clear that the students knew all about trees and were eager to share their knowledge and get planting trees – pronto!

Not only did the children understand about the positive environmental impact of trees, especially in big cities like Birmingham. But the true beauty of trees as well. World’s End Junior school pupils waxed lyrical about the splendour of trees and how enriched our live are to be surrounded by such natural beauty!

Do you know the monkey puzzle tree is older than the dinosaurs… Trees are natures lungs…. Trees are home and food to lots of wildlife, the children explained excitedly. As we got to Tennal Lane site there was an excited chant from the children, we love trees, we love trees! And so, say all of us!

Grabbing their spades with energy and enthusiasm the children, staff and some very welcome parents couldn’t wait to plant the ten standard trees. These trees will replace the Poplar trees already at Tennal Lane, which will be felled in the next few years due to their age – sad, but very necessary safety requirement.

But here a new generation of trees have been planted by year-three to year-six children and we celebrate every single one of them. The students of World’s End Junior School live and walk in and around Tennal Lane Recreation Ground regularly and will see their tree planting legacy growing week in week out.

Understanding that in five-months, five-years or in 50-years-time their small and beautiful trees will still be there to love, enjoy and celebrate. And for sure every one of those students will point and say, ‘there’s my tree!’

We understand children love trees, and that they will always love trees they planted today, taking very welcome ownership over these trees. The message they take back home to family, friends and neighbours is – trees are special we should all learn to love them a lot more. It was a special start to a special first day of planting with special students and we say thank you to everyone that joined us for the beginning of BTfL’s tree tree planting season.

Allison Owen’s Headteacher at World’s End Junior School says: “The children were still buzzing two hours after returning from their tree planting with Birmingham Trees For Life. Please keep in contact with us!”

Please see more photographs of our wonderful day tree planting with World’s End Junior School by clicking, here

BTFL planting season 2018/19 comes to an end.

Today marked the final planting event for schools, communities and families with BTFL for this season. Trees are now leaving their winter dormant period, so we will suspend planting until November this year when we begin again for our 2019/20 season !

Our thanks to everyone that has joined us on site, ‘Friends’ of parks, schools, corporate groups and volunteers. We couldn’t do it without your support. We also need to give special thanks to BCC Woodland team, who make sure all our spades and trees arrive at the right place and prepare all our sites. Finally a thank you to all the BCC Parks staff and our BTFL volunteers who give their time to make things happen!

Keep watching this site to see what else we are up to, as we are busy with schools and events during the summer- helping to spread the word about the importance of trees.

 

Trees- In memory of Leo McKevitt

Friends and family of the late Leo McKevitt met this morning to plant some beautiful trees in his memory. (Rowans and Maples)

Today’s trees were sponsored by Leo’s family and planted in an area close to his heart- Norman Chamberlain Playing Fields. This was also an area that Leo knew better than most- as he worked as the Senior Ranger here, and later at Woodgate Valley Country Park. Immediate family were joined by members of the Friends groups he had worked alongside.

Leo was well known to all of us at BTFL as he had great skills with all the children and adults that attended our events and always came up with  new ideas to engage all ages.

He will be sadly missed by family, friends and colleagues, but we are sure he will have been looking down with a smile as we all battled against the wind to keep the trees, and ourselves, upright! You can see our efforts via this link.

Our thanks to the Old Saltleians RFC for allowing us to use their sports pavilion to get out of the wind for a well earned hot drink, and special thanks to the McKevitt family for choosing to sponsor trees with BTFL.