Charter Branch of the Year – Wakefield Tree Wardens
‘One of our core objectives is “To enable, encourage and promote formal and informal activities for all age groups, including any person with a disability or handicap, to take an interest in trees.”
Doing that by planting >46,000 trees in this suburban area working in partnership with our local council. The Group created opportunities and facilitated projects for schools and colleges, Rotary Clubs, businesses out on volunteer days and adults in Day Care due to their disabilities and special learning needs. Engaging with nature and planting trees. Outcomes have been amazing, one young man who has autism and so depressed he had not spoken for two years was directed to us at our Arboretum Project by his Social Worker. Six Tuesday morning sessions later he started to speak again and has gone on to follow his hidden interest in nature particularly Badgers. His story featured on BBC Songs of Praise.
Our Shaw Cross woodland creation project, we invited schools to take part. Horbury Juniors sent every child, 15 at a time in their minibus. It took 10 days, they all planted several trees each on this capped off old refuse tip. We talked about the site and how that could be improved by recycling, then planted the trees which would reduce water run off and leaching out of effluent by creating an umbrella canopy. Also pushing water back into the atmosphere by transpiration also reducing localised flooding. This project was runner up in The LOTC Awards.
Featherstone Town Council asked for help to create their WW1 Centenary Memorial Woodland. 353 men did not return. We approached four local schools, all had their year 5 and 6 children involved. Researching each man before going to site to plant a tree by his marker. In the Spring they added wild flowers learning about natural food chains and the benefits the trees would bring. The community embraced the project adding The War Horse statue. We helped make the name markers permanent. Attained The Mayor of Featherstones Award for helping in the community.
We see each planting as an educational opportunity and schools love it.
We purchased 4000 whips to create a hedgerow to help keep children away from busy railway lines. Schools came to help plant them and learn about the benefits trees would bring for people and nature. We are not aware of any children trespassing since and a valuable natural corridor has been enhanced. Network Rail sent two men plus JCB to help, that took two years to set up. The project later featured in their magazine.
We have already identified this winter’s projects, ordered 6000 trees to engage a school and the community in a council estate who have not previously been involved.’
Words by Roger Parkinson – Wakefield – Tree Wardens
Wakefield – Tree Wardens we’re awarded this years Charter Branch of the Year award. Well done to all involved.