By Louise Barnetson
An amazing thing happened in Birdham on the morning of Saturday 5th March ... an incredible 40+ volunteers met at the Birdham recreation area to plant an astonishing 350+ trees. The event was organised by Jane and Louise from Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group, in conjunction with 1st Birdham & Witterings Scout Group, and we were also joined with members of Birdham Parish Council and some hardy local people.
An impressive number of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts from 1st Birdham & Witterings Scout Group, together with their amazing parents, carers, and siblings, turned up on this rather chilly, overcast, Saturday morning armed with spades and gloves and full of energy. It was inspiring to see so many local children and their families enthusiastically giving up their own time at the weekend to make a difference to their local community. The turnout included toddlers, pensioners, and everyone in between, proving that anyone can plant a tree and make a difference!
After a quick tree planting demo, everyone was soon getting stuck in, digging holes, constructing tree guards, putting in canes, and by the middle of the morning some children were giving instructions to newly-arrived volunteers - proudly showing them how to plant a tree!
The day was so full of positive energy and community spirit, with people chatting away and helping each other out, and saying how much they enjoyed it. The warmth and good humour of the volunteers, more than made up for the cold hands and frozen feet!
The trees included, willow, oak, hornbeam, green beach, rowan, hazel, silver birch, wild rose and alder. Planting native trees creates habitat for wildlife, helps improve local biodiversity, contributes to fighting climate change, improves air quality, and helps reduce flooding and soil erosion, not to mention the benefits trees can bring to our mental and physical well-being.
A huge thank you to all the leaders and volunteers from 1st Birdham & Witterings Scout Group - you really have made a difference to your local environment and community!
Jane and Louise also ran a session with the Beavers section in the week before the tree planting day to teach them more about trees, how they change through the seasons, and the benefits they bring to wildlife to help them understand why were planting the trees. We will be continuing our work with the 1st Birdham & Witterings Scout Group over the coming months, running sessions on the local environment, wildlife, conservation, and climate change, and supporting them in achieving badges broadly relating to these topics. This work is generously funded by The Woodger Trust.
We would also like to thank Birdham Parish Council who are being so forward-thinking in wanting to make these improvements to the local area for biodiversity and to fight climate change. We also thank Lewis Brownlee Financial Services and John Wiley & Sons Ltd who have made generous donations to pay for our biodegradable tree guards and bamboo canes. We try to use biodegradable tree guards as much as possible to avoid adding more plastic to the environment, but sadly they are not cheap so we're very grateful for these donations. Huge thanks also to The Woodger Trust.