Black Country Geopark

Trees enhance our gardens, streets and parks and are good for our wellbeing. They help reduce flooding, absorb air pollution and cool the environment. Trees are good for wildlife and lock up carbon, helping to reduce climate change.

In January 2020, Wolverhampton City Council adopted a Tree and Woodland Strategy and it worked with fantastic people in the community who wanted to plant trees. Some had free trees from the Woodland Trust but nowhere to plant them, some were novices, some were old hands, but all were enthusiastic. We had three wonderful planting days with people turning out in all weather in February 2020. Then Covid struck and we had to cancel our community events.

Picture of trees planted

But, once the seed was planted, it grew. In early 2021 we planted the Black Country’s first Tiny Forest, which crams 600 trees in an area the size of a tennis court. Tiny Forests allow school children and the community to get involved in learning about and caring for the forest. In November, we plant our second Tiny Forest in Bilston, an area marked by the legacy of the Black Country’s industrial past, as celebrated by the Geopark. We may have even more Tiny Forests next year; watch this space!

With Covid restrictions lifting, we have five community events in November, working with community groups and businesses to plant trees in our parks. Most of the trees are coming once again from the Woodland Trust.

The best however is yet to come, thanks to more generous funding by the Woodland Trust. In early 2022 we will be planting 10 hectares of woodland in even more of our parks and open spaces. We are planning to get volunteers and community groups involved. The planting sites include Bushbury, where glacial erratics give us a picture of the movements of ice sheets during the last ice age.

The West Midlands Combined Authority, through their Virtual Forest (wmvirtualforest.co.uk), is recording the trees that are planted right across the West Midlands. Even the Queen is involved through promoting the Queen’s Green Canopy as part of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations next year.

So, if you love trees, there has never been a better time to get involved in planting. As the old Chinese proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now.”

 

Ric Bravery

Wolverhampton City Council