Green-fingered school children from Wirral have been creating new Tiny Forests this week as part of a partnership commitment to tackling climate change.
More than 1,200 new trees have been planted at Citrine Road in Seacombe and The Delph, Wallasey, by pupils from a number of local primary and secondary schools supported by families and community groups.
The Tiny Forest initiative is led by Earthwatch Europe, an environmental charity with science at its heart. They are densely-planted native woodlands the size of a tennis court that can help mitigate the impacts of climate change, support urban wildlife and reconnect people with nature, offering multiple co-benefits for a community.
These miniature forests grow rapidly, becoming more biodiverse and impactful more quickly than monoculture forests or isolated trees.
More than 3,000 Tiny Forests have already been planted around the world, with Earthwatch Europe pioneering the movement in the UK.
The tree planting session at Citrine Road, supported by DEFRA’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund and MINI Electric, is part of a wider local environmental project called the ‘Citrine Citizen Science Forest Project’, which gives pupils the chance to work alongside forest schools, universities, community groups and other specialists to broaden their awareness of ‘green’ issues.
Children from Somerville, St Joseph’s and Kingsway primary schools will be taking part on 16 November as they plant their Tiny Forest on land at Citrine Road. Students who attend Wirral WRAP – an alternative school provider – will also take part.
At the Delph fields in Liscard on 17 November, pupils from Liscard and St George’s primaries, as well as Mosslands and Oldershaw secondary schools, will plant another Tiny Forest consisting of around 600 trees, plants and ground cover. This Tiny Forest is supported by the OVO Foundation, the charity arm of OVO Energy. Last year, OVO Foundation launched Climate Changers, a new programme to inspire and educate over 100,000 children and young people to take action on the climate crisis.
All groups will be supported in their activities by Earthwatch and their partners at Ground Control, as well as Wirral Council and Mersey Forest.
Lynn Struve, Wirral Council’s Eco Schools Co-ordinator, said, “We are always looking at new ways to engage our young people in activities that not only promote biodiversity as a concept, but also give them the opportunity to get hands on as well! Tiny Forest is a perfect opportunity to do that and the really great thing is that they will get to see the trees they have planted grow in the coming years and they will see for themselves the benefits they bring to their own community.”
Louise Hartley, Tiny Forest Programme Manager at Earthwatch Europe, said, “Tiny Forest provides rich opportunities for connecting young and old alike with the environment and sustainability. It’s vital that we give people the knowledge and skills to protect our natural world and inspire them to take positive action. We are delighted to be working with Wirral Council, local schools and our partners to bring these inspiring spaces to Wallasey.”
David George, Director, MINI UK & Ireland said, “Creative use of space is at the heart of MINI, so the partnership between MINI Electric and Earthwatch Europe to plant Tiny Forests is a perfect fit. We’re really excited about how Tiny Forests can bring communities together and help educate on the important role biodiversity plays in sustainability.”
Gaby Sethi, Head of OVO Foundation, said, “We’re passionate about educating the younger generation on how to reduce their carbon footprint, protect the physical environment, and limit their impact on the planet. Tiny Forests helps children learn about the environment and sustainability in a really accessible way. By planting 12 Tiny Forests in urban communities across the UK with Earthwatch, we will help connect children with their local green spaces and show them how they can protect it for future generations.”