guest blog – MORE TREES, PLEASE! By Filwood Tree Champion, Jim Smith

Early in 2020, I was offered 100 oak trees for £20 via the Bristol Tree Forum of which I’m a member.  I applied for and obtained a £100 Grant from Knowle West Alliance to purchase these trees (50 cm ‘whips’), badge making materials, marking pens, labels and ties to run an ‘adopt a tree’ project with children in Knowle West.

With support from KWA, I approached the local schools to get children involved and was also given permission to plant in some of the schools’ grounds.  The materials would be used to mark each school child’s individual tree, as well as create an ‘Eco Champion’ badge, personalised by each child – I borrowed the Brislexic badge making machine which Claudia Collins had bought with a KWA Small Grant the previous year.

Badges made by local children

Chris Ingram from The Factory (Filwood Green Business Park) gave me some wood ‘off cuts’ to use as measuring sticks so the children could decorate them and measure the progress of ‘their tree’! (See front page of The Knowledge, Winter2021/22 edition)

Due to the COVID outbreak, the trees could not be planted at the schools in autumn 2020. So, instead of planting them, I ‘heeled them in’ to a plot of ground until November 2021.  Some died, but the Bristol Tree Forum gave me free replacements as well as an extra 25!

In November 2021, I set to work, with help from teachers and a gaggle of children to plant, label, measure and water 100 trees in 4 schools’ grounds: Greenfield, KnowleDGE, Connaught and Christ the King!  By March 2022, all were safely planted and badges proudly worn!

Planting at Oasis Academy Connaught
Talking to the children at CTK about trees
Planting a tree with children at CTK
Planting at KnowleDGE

As I had 25 ‘spare’, and with permission from The Northern Slopes Initiative, I planted the remaining trees there, 125 in all by the end of the planting season!