Launch of the Young People Forest
On the 10th May we gathered for our launch event at Mead in Derbyshire, the UK’s first Young People’s Forest.
This new 162ha site is a former open cast coal mine, similar in many respects to QEDJW in Leicestershire. However this new acquisition has the added advantage of being adjacent to the very popular Shipley Country Park, which itself is next to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Woodside Farm. Together, these three areas will make more than 500 hectares (nearly 1,300 acres) of connected, wildlife friendly space for people to enjoy.
A key element of this project is to work with young people to create a Young People’s Forest as part of the #iwill4nature, a campaign to facilitate environmental youth social action especially during this Year of Green Action. This pioneering £4.7m project will empower children and teenagers to get involved and plant 250,000 trees in the next couple of years. We also want to involve young people in the decision making about how we develop the site from the outset – something we haven’t done in the past and at this scale.
So far we have received fantastic support from the Pears Foundation, the Pears #iwill Fund, the Veolia Environmental Trust and Biffa Award, as well as Nationwide Building Society and a generous gift left by a Trust supporter in their will. This funding has helped the project get off to a flying start and really focused our attention ensuring young people are at the heart of the decision making.
Our chair, Barbara Young opened proceedings followed by pupils and key guests planting the first ceremonial trees close to the entrance to the new wood and adjacent to Shipley Country Park Visitor Centre – ably supported by Keith the Leaf and the marathon running tree!
Local schools took part in a range of environmental activities on site lead by us and students from the art and design dept at Derby College who also provided the catering. We also created a unique artwork using the outline of a tree – guests used their fingers dipped in ink to add leaves to the branches to highlight they were there at the start of the project.
To round off the day everyone on site was encouraged to take part in some impromptu land art, spelling out YPF (Young People’s Forest) and #IWill which was captured by drone. This worked out really well and timing couldn’t have been better as the heavens opened just as just as everyone was leaving site.
A great WT team effort to deliver the day and get the project at Mead off to a flying start.
Link to the appeal website for reference – www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/mead
Paul Bunton – Events & Communications Officer – North