Tree keepers sought for tiny forests

Tree Keepers Martin Hill, Simon Cardall, Amelia Connolly, Matthew Pursall, Dominic Whittaker

UK water company Severn Trent is on the lookout for Tree Keepers to play an important role in caring for newly-created 'tiny forest' sites in the West Midlands.

As the 2022 Commonwealth Games' official Nature & Carbon Neutral Supporter, Severn Trent, with support from local communities and environmental charity Earthwatch Europe, has created 72 tennis-court-size tiny forests this year, one for each of the nations and territories competing in the international sporting event, which starts on 28 July in Birmingham.

Now the partners are hoping to recruit a team of up to four Tree Keepers to take care for each site planted in the community, with the team being responsible for monitoring and maintaining their own tiny forest. Tree Keepers will also be trained to collect data from the tiny forest to assess the ecosystem benefits of each site, such as noting the different kinds of wildlife it attracts.

“Tiny Forest presents rich and varied opportunities to partner in tackling the environmental crisis, connect people with nature and make a valuable contribution to science."

Hannah Davidson, Earthwatch Europe

The first site to recruit Tree Keepers belongs to the 237th Castle Bromwich Scout Group, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. Over 130 people joined their planting day in April, and four scout leaders have been recruited as the first Tree Keepers.

Ricky Dallow, forestry creation manager at Severn Trent explained that each of the sites plays an important role in boosting access to green space in urban areas, increasing regional resilience against environmental issues such as flooding, heat stress and nature loss and supporting environmental education.

“There are lots of different ways that Tree Keepers can get involved with their tiny forest, and when these tasks are split between all the Tree Keepers, we expect each individual will only need to spend a couple of hours a month helping to care for the tiny forest," he added.

Hannah Davidson,Tiny Forest programme manager at Earthwatch Europe, said, “We were delighted to work with Severn Trent to bring tiny forests to so many schools and communities across the West Midlands; leaving a positive and lasting legacy for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Tiny Forest presents rich and varied opportunities to partner in tackling the environmental crisis, connect people with nature and make a valuable contribution to science.

“Being a Tree Keeper is a great opportunity to get more involved in your local tiny forest's development and track the environmental impact of the site.”

In addition to the 72 tiny forests planted across the Midlands, Severn Trent has planted too more - one at its reservoir in Shustoke, in recognition of former board member Dame Angela Strank's services to sustainability, and the other at Stanford Reservoir.

Interested in finding out more about becoming a Tree Keeper at a tiny forest near you? Get in touch with forestdelivery@severntrent.co.uk