On Sunday 23 February 2020 we volunteered, as a family, to plant trees alongside many members of the community as part of the North Somerset Council Rewilding Scheme.
I found it an emotional morning planting the future. Seeing so many families come together, all ages, most meeting for the first time but all united in this common goal, to help the environment and climate change, to provide habitat for wildlife, to plant trees for future generations to enjoy. It felt great to take positive action.
On Sunday, as a group, we planted 302 bare root whips near Sedgemoor Close in Nailsea, North Somerset. This was the first phase of planting across North Somerset, which saw trees planted earlier that week at other sites around Nailsea, Wick, Yatton and Weston and then Wraxall and Weston the following week, totalling 5000 trees planted in February. The Council's pledge is to plant a staggering 50,000 trees by 2022 to help address climate change. Impressive.
The trees were donated by The Woodland Trust. Check out their website to see all the amazing work they do to plant, protect and restore woodland to help combat climate change. See how you can support them. Find a project near you and volunteer.
As well as tree planting the council plans to rewild areas within North Somerset leaving some public grass areas long and introducing flower meadows which is tremendously beneficial to wildlife. Although it is surprising how much negative back lash I have heard in the press regarding not cutting the grass in public areas.
If you need any convincing read this post by The Wildlife Trust 'How to Grow a Wild Patch' which explains what happens when you leave grass to grow...you create habitat and the wildlife move in!
All trees planted were UK native. The volunteers planted: two alder buckthorn, 10 aspen, 10 beech,
70 bird cherry, 72 crab apple, 14 dogwood, 30 field maple, 10 hazel, 14 juniper, 30 spindle,
30 wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana) and 10 lime.
The session commenced with a demonstration from North Somerset Council's James McCarthy who showed everyone the method for planting bare root whips.
Dig a spade's depth square hole, this helps roots spread out rather than a circular hole which encourages roots to grow round and round in a circle. Leave the clod of soil to one side.
Remove large stones from hole.
Slice the turf off the top of your removed clod and divide turf in half.
Place the bare root whip in the hole.
Place the two turf halves in the hole, either side of the tree, turf side down.
Firm down soil around tree.
Give the tree a gentle tug to check it is firmly planted in situ.
Insert bamboo cane support close to trunk.
Wrap the tree protector around tree and bamboo cane.
Click on gallery to enlarge photos.
I met some wonderful people. There was an incredible turn out by the local community and beyond... many hands made light work.
The most surprising meeting was with a humanitarian charity that had travelled down from London to plant trees at Pound Lane in Nailsea on Saturday, drove home to London and then RETURNED the next day to help on the Sedgemoor Close phase.
I was so honoured to meet this group. I initially thought they were part of the official North Somerset team organising the event but no, they had arrived off their own back and came armed with a huge kettle of very sugary coffee and handed out hot drinks to every single person who came to help, along with a digestive biscuit, instantly winning hearts!
Such a kind, selfless act to help others, especially when it was miles from their own local area. Check out the wonderful work this charity does all over the country. From local good deeds such as feeding the homeless, environmental projects and street cleaning to disaster relief. Truly humbling: www.greenswelfare.co.uk
It was amazing to plant trees as a family, with a group of strangers, knowing we were all part of something important, together, knowing these trees will grow and be there in years to come...planting a future! There was a tremendous atmosphere of friendship and hope.
Emotional to think my son could walk here in years to come and say 'I planted these trees!' ...or perhaps, one day, he may even show his own children.
All photos by Debi Holland © 2020 except group photo by James McCarthy.