Illegal tree felling outcry leads to successful community fundraiser to plant Tiny Forest - Earthwatch

Illegal tree felling outcry leads to successful community fundraiser to plant Tiny Forest

In June 2023, London residents were appalled at the illegal felling of over 100 trees near Cator Park, Bromley. On that day, the community responded to a call for help and blocked a digger from accessing the park, saving the remaining trees; but sadly, a lot of damage had already been caused.

In the months that followed, as an act inspired by the felling, this tight-knit community came together, led by the Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground community group, and raised enough money to fund a Tiny Forest in Cator Park. Fundraising initiatives included stalls at local events, an organised bat & ghost hunt during Halloween, and the support from a large number of local residents. Key to their success was setting up a Crowdfunder campaign though which they received match funding from the Aviva Community Fund and the Save Our Wild Isles Community Fund. In total the Crowdfunder raised £32k.

A small but mighty forest in the heart of London

A Tiny Forest is made up of approximately 600 densely planted native trees and shrubs covering a space the size of a tennis court. Located in urban settings, Tiny Forests aim to help mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide havens for wildlife and connect people with nature in their local area. Earthwatch provides people with the resources, tools and confidence to help monitor how their local Tiny Forest develops and quantify the climate benefits. Each Tiny Forest can attract over 500 animal and plant species within the first three years. Helping the trees take root and watching them flourish creates a very special connection with the forest and the wildlife that calls it home.

Tiny forests are based on an established forest management method developed in the 1970s by Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki. To create new Tiny Forests, Earthwatch identifies suitable sites in locations where nature is most needed, working with partners, local councils, community groups and schools to plan, design, prepare, plant, maintain and monitor their local forest.

Together with supporters and local community members, Earthwatch and the Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground will plant the Cator Park Tiny Forest on Saturday 24th February. Over the next three years, local groups and volunteers will help monitor and care for the site – creating a place for the community to enjoy and connect with nature on their doorstep.

Millie Knights from Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Playground said:

“I am very proud of my fellow volunteers, local residents, businesses and community in helping to raise all the funds needed to ensure we are able to plant more trees in our wonderful park; to improve our environment and provide a fantastic space for all to enjoy together with an outdoor classroom for our young people.”

Grace Gale, Project Manager at Earthwatch Europe said:

“This is such an inspiring story of a community pulling together to plant a Tiny Forest that will support local biodiversity and benefit the people of Bromley for generations to come. This Tiny Forest is part of our Nature in Cities work through which we help to create greener, healthier cities and improve access to nature-rich spaces. Together with communities, we deliver new urban nature-based solutions and community activities to empower people of all ages and from all walks of life to connect with nature and take action for our planet.”

Photo credit: Friends of Cator Park

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