Schoolchildren took part in a science day at Crewe’s first Tiny Forest to help mark the official opening of the small woodland, created by The Guinness Partnership and Earthwatch Europe.
Kieran Mullan, the MP for Crewe and Nantwich, and Cllr Tom Dunlop, the Mayor of Crewe, were met by Kevin Williams, Executive Director at The Guinness Partnership. They then cut the ribbon to officially open the small woodland, before the 10 and 11-year-olds took part in their outdoor learning.
A Tiny Forest is a densely packed plot of about 600 trees and shrubs no larger than a tennis court. The Guinness Partnership is the first housing association in the country to create one on their land.
Year Six pupils from Underwood West Academy set to work monitoring the health of the saplings. They studied the butterflies, bees and bugs, and learned how the trees will be helping the environment by storing carbon and water.
The Tiny Forest was planted by the environmental charity Earthwatch Europe on land supplied by The Guinness Partnership.
A Tiny Forest is based on a technique developed in the 1970s by Japanese botanists before being adopted in the UK. As it will be so densely populated with trees, this will limit its own growth, and it will be a haven for urban wildlife.
It will help local people connect with nature, act as an outdoor classroom for young people learning about the natural world and bring the community together.
Kevin Williams, Executive Director at The Guinness Partnership, said “The Tiny Forest is fantastic and part of our commitment to creating greener communities.
“We hope many people will enjoy the forest in the years to come – whether to learn about nature, or to enjoy the view.”
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’re delighted to be working with The Guinness Partnership to bring this inspiring space to Crewe.”
Kieran Mullan, the MP for Crewe and Nantwich, said: “It was great to be able to cut the ribbon for the official opening of the tiny forest on Frank Bott Avenue. Thank you to The Guinness Partnership and Earthwatch for making this project possible.
“A special thanks also to the volunteers who are going to maintain the Tiny Forest for the community as tree keepers and citizen scientists!”
The Mayor of Crewe, Cllr Tom Dunlop, said: “Spaces like these are fantastic assets for the local community and it has been great to see the children learning about science and interacting with nature in an outdoor environment. Thank you to The Guinness Partnership and Earthwatch for bringing this woodland area to life.”
Earthwatch Europe are looking for volunteers to become tree keepers to either care for the forest or be citizen scientists who will help monitor it and collect data on how it’s benefitting the local environment.
If you’d like to become a Tree Keeper email: firstname.lastname@example.org