Five Severn Trent Tiny Forests planted in Birmingham to leave a lasting legacy

Friday 8 April 2022

• 3,000 trees set to be planted across five sites

• Tiny Forests planted in Castle Bromwich and Bournville, as well as Four Dwellings Academy, Kings Heath Boys School and Saltley Academy

• Sites to play an important role in leaving an environmental legacy following Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Tiny Forests have been planted at five sites across Birmingham in celebration of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The sites are located at the Scout House of the 237th Castle Bromwich Scout Group, Weoley Hill Parkway in Bournville, Four Dwellings Academy in Quinton, Kings Heath Boys School and Saltley Academy. Around 3,000 trees in total have been planted across the five sites.

As Birmingham 2022’s Official Nature & Carbon Neutral Supporter, Severn Trent is creating 72 tennis-court-sized Tiny Forests across the region, one for each of the nations and territories competing in the Games. 

The initiative, supported by environmental charity Earthwatch Europe, has seen 65 Tiny Forests planted so far across the Midlands region.

The sites will help to deliver a lasting legacy for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as well as boosting access to green space in urban areas, supporting environmental education and increasing regional resilience against environmental issues such as flooding, heat stress and nature loss.  

Over 130 people attended the planting day at the Castle Bromwich Scout House, with the group celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, with the Tiny Forest planting being one of many ways they are marking the occasion.

Thomas Stock, of the 237th Castle Bromwich Scout Group, said: “The group has long been a supporter of sustainable practises and how they can be used to improve quality of life whilst minimising environmental impact. Past sustainability projects have included the installation PV solar panels, grey water harvesting and planting projects to increase the flora and fauna on the site.

“The Tiny Forest project allows the group to expand its sustainable influence into the local area surrounding the headquarters. This project could be a catalyst to influence the wider community to undertake their own projects, that lead to a better world for future generations.”

Members of Weoley Hill Bowling Club were among dozens of locals who joined in with the planting fun in Bournville – the club was originally opened by George Cadbury Junior in 1928. They were joined by pupils from Northfield Manor Primary Academy.

Tracey Rowe, Head of Estates and Stewardship at Bournville Village Trust, said: “We are committed to creating and maintaining environmentally sustainable places so we’re really pleased to have worked with Severn Trent to create our very own Tiny Forest on the Bournville Village Trust Estate.  

“Weoley Hill Parkway is an ideal site to plant the forest as there’s plenty of space and we know it will be excellent for local wildlife and biodiversity too. We really hope that the Tiny Forest in the parkway will be the first of many across the Estate. We’ve had overwhelming support for the project and it was great to see so many local people involved on the planting day.”

Peter White, Head of Saltley Academy, said: “We’ve been delighted to partner with Severn Trent for our Tiny Forest that has been planted next to our Resource Base for children with Special Educational Needs, providing a place of peace and reflection for them and the wider school community. As a city centre school this will give students a much needed connection to nature, providing a haven for wildlife as well as standing as a symbol of our commitment to tackle climate change and create a sustainable future for our youth. 

“We are excited as a school to be part of the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, inspiring excellence, giving students role models from across the Commonwealth and promoting sport as essential to a healthy lifestyle and, as such, as a vital tool for wellbeing.”

Nick Mackintosh, of Kings Heath Boys School, said: “The opportunity to have a Tiny Forest at Kings Heath Boys School really helps reinforce a number of green and environmentally friendly projects the school is involved in. It will also be especially helpful to those boys involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme as they will learn about how to create a more sustainable society.”

Julie Tyers, Forest School Leader at Four Dwellings Primary Academy, said: “We feel very privileged at Four Dwellings Primary Academy to have our own Tiny Forest. The children have already learnt so much, from planting techniques to the names of trees just from planting day alone. We are looking forward to using this space more to reconnect children and adults with nature and to reap the many benefits this forest will bring from wellbeing, nature rich habitats and more importantly to help mitigate and raise awareness of the climate crisis that the whole world faces.

“As our forest grows it will create opportunities, not only for our school community but the wider community as people come together to care and maintain our forest. Once established our tiny forest will play a part in our school’s curriculum, teaching students and providing a wealth of educational opportunities to get children outside and engaged.”

Severn Trent’s Forest Delivery Manager, Ricky Dallow, said: “We’ve really enjoyed planting these Tiny Forests across Birmingham. As a company that takes care of one of life’s essentials, we’re really passionate about making a positive impact on the communities and the environment where we live and work and these Tiny Forests are going to be a real asset to the West Midlands.”

Jess Fidler, Head of Sustainability at Birmingham 2022 said: “It’s amazing to see these Tiny Forests come to life. Although small, these trees will make a big impact to young people across the West Midlands, enhance wellbeing and provide nature-rich habitat patches to support urban wildlife.

“We all look forward to experiencing these nature-rich green spaces across the West Midlands that future generations will enjoy.”

Earthwatch Europe, the environmental charity pioneering the Tiny Forest movement in the UK, is supporting Severn Trent in the delivery of the Tiny Forests, which can attract over 500 animal and plant species within the first three years of planting.     

Louise Hartley, Senior Programme Manager at Earthwatch Europe, said: “Tiny Forests provide rich opportunities for connecting people with the environment and sustainability on their doorstep.  It’s vital that we give people the knowledge and skills to protect our natural world and inspire them to take positive action.  We are delighted to be working with Severn Trent to bring these opportunities to these areas, and communities across the region.” 

Information on volunteering for upcoming community planting days across the region can be found here.