An award-winning planting legacy
Ground Control and Severn Trent have engaged local communities, volunteers, and schools in creating 72 ‘Tiny Forests’ and planting 2022 acres of legacy in new 'Commonwealth Forests'.
- Creating Tiny Forests included the planting of 72 ‘tennis-court-sized’ forests, all linked with local schools and representing a territory competing in the Games.
- Commonwealth Forests are 2022 acres of woodland planted across multiple sites in the West Midlands to support the carbon sequestration aims and to plant a legacy that can be enjoyed by the community.
The project used the planting methodology of Earthwatch. A project partner who has inspired the UK Tiny Forest movement and has a vision of planting 500 by 2030, and have identified the forests as "Super tiny, super powerful...and more than just trees".
- A Tiny Forest is a dense fast-growing native woodland, based on an established forest management method developed in the 1970s by Dr. Akira Miyawaki.
The project collaborated with local schools to align each Tiny Forest with a different school. Pupils joined Ground Control for educational planting days to get ‘hands-on’ experience with native species and to learn about the importance of biodiversity. The long-term aim is that these schools, such as the Four Dwellings Academy in Birmingham and Chadsgrove School in Bromsgrove, continue to access their outdoor classroom in future years to understand how the forest grows, establishes, and develops. This education will encourage and inspire positive action in future generations and support the aims of a lasting legacy across the West Midlands.
To maximise the positive biodiversity impact per square, every Tiny Forest comprises of a selection of native trees and shrubs, with supporting preliminary works and soil preparation to mitigate issues like compaction, and to optimise the water capacity of the soil.
The planting of native species such as English and Sessile Oak, Dony and Silver Birch, and Hawthorn increases the chances of successful establishment, reduces the amount of maintenance, and can importantly act as food, shelter, and pollinators for local wildlife.
To achieve Severn Trent’s aims as the ‘Official Nature and Carbon Neutral Supporter’ of the
Commonwealth Games, and to leave a legacy in the West Midlands, 2022 acres of broad-leaf,
mixed woodlands have been planted across multiple locations. The results will be a series of woodlands, all of which are suitable for the climate they are planted in’, and in most cases in areas that communities can enjoy. It also allows for local wildlife and biodiversity to flourish.
The engagement of local communities in the planting days will be essential to the long-term
success and leaving a ‘lasting legacy’. Family-friendly planting days have allowed for communities to be engaged, with volunteers who said;
In December 2022 the project received a BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) award for 'Community and Schools' Development'. The Awards judging panel of acclaimed industry experts demands the highest level of professional excellence and represent the very best in landscape construction and design.
Jason Knights, Managing Director of Ground Control said: