Trees and greenery have always had a special part in our lives, and now the climate crisis means they're appreciated even more. We've become aware how vital trees, hedges and bushes are for climate recovery - and how at risk they are from a myriad of dangers, from deforestation to the devastation from more extreme gales and, of course, unseasonal temperatures. The outcry and deep emotions prompted by the loss of the Sycamore Gap tree was a further reminder.
<<Climate Action Newcastle's Trees Group brings together enthusiasts to share information about ways to protect and develop trees and greenery in our area - contact Mima here if you'd like to be involved. Below is a list of options that their supporters are involved with - plus organisations that carry out planting in our area and will welcome volunteers with open arms!>>
Living Woods: learn more about looking after existing woods, including specific projects re management/restoration. livingwoods.org.uk
Tree Council: Rachel follows this info - website https://treecouncil.org.uk/ - and points out National Tree Week takes place between 25 November – 3 December. Useful info like this can be tracked here.
Climate Action Newcastle supporter Jen did its webinar on collecting and successfully germinating tree seeds … it has a great Tree Growing Guide that anyone can access. https://treegrowersguide.org.uk/tgg/
Tiny forests and more: find out more about the benefits of small-scale tree and greenery planting https://earthwatch.org.uk/ . And here's info about marvellous nearby examples of how partnerships can create tiny forests: Ponteland and West Denton (and news coverage here).
VOLUNTEER FOR TREES AND GREENERY PLANTING
Planting is high on the list of many organisations, whether for urban shelter or to boost rural biodiversity - and they welcome the support of people of all ages to get digging. A range of schemes have now been created, in the city itself and also surrounding rural areas.
Many more residents around Newcastle are looking for these opportunities to lend a hand. Simon Smith is pictured here with one of dozens of bushes he planted on a volunteer day, thanks to a workplace scheme at Siemens Energy.
"We can opt to spend a day for this sort of work - it's great to have a day out in nature."
This Climate Action Newcastle guide shares information on venues that regularly offer volunteer opportunities. The dates often aren't finalised far in advance, because they depend on weather and availability of the young plants, so contact information is provided for you to check during the usual planting seasons.
DATES FOR THE DIARY
Date: Monday 30 October 2023
Time: 13:30 - 15:30
Location: Chollerford Avenue, North Shields - info here.
Date: Friday 3 November 2023
Time: 11:00 - 13:00
Location: Near Castle Square, Backworth - info here.
ORGANISATIONS THAT TREE PLANT EACH YEAR
Urban Green, the charity that looks after parks and green spaces around Newcastle, usually has several events throughout winter where dozens of volunteers help to plant bare root trees and bushes. This example saw several dozen volunteers of all ages planting 10 species of woodland understorey, to fill the gaps between undergrowth and tree canopy.
Ed Chivers explained: "We've a big commitment to all types of planting. Today's planting includes blackthorn, hazel, elder, holly and hawthorn - all native species that will support wildlife." This particular scheme was a partnership with the Beelines project. More than 600 plants were added during that one day of volunteering!
Other work on land managed by Urban Green has included replacements for trees blown down in recent damaging storms. For every tree lost, two have been planted - and volunteer help has been appreciated. Overall, Urban Green planned to plant 10,000 trees by 2026, and has already beaten its target.
You can sign up to their mailing list here https://urbangreennewcastle.org/mailing-list/ to be notified of events.
North East Community Forest (https://www.northeastcommunityforest.org.uk/) is a partnership of local organisations that facilitates community planting events across the North East, often within reach by public transport so you don’t need a car to get involved. Planting usually takes place November-March and any events will be announced on this page: https://www.northeastcommunityforest.org.uk/get-involved-north-east-community-forest.
Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN) has in recent years organised tree planting in Gosforth Nature Reserve, which members can volunteer for - usually early in the year. You can find out more using this webpage: https://www.nhsn.org.uk/volunteer-with-us/
The Northumberland Wildlife Trust is another major player - last winter they collaborated with the North East Community Forest and planted trees in various locations around Newcastle. You don't have to be a member and they have been keen to get communities involved. https://www.nwt.org.uk/get-involved