Bringing the nature benefits of Tiny Forest to Barnsley
Liane Holdsworth is Programme Development Manager for Barnsley Council. When she first heard about Tiny Forests she was determined to bring one or more Tiny Forests to her borough.
Planting a Tiny Forest in Rotherham
Tiny Forest is a tree planting initiative brought to the UK by Earthwatch Europe, designed to boost biodiversity in urban areas and create accessible green space for communities to reconnect with nature. Schools can use the forests for outdoor education, so that children can create meaningful relationships with nature, and local ‘Tree Keeper’ volunteers can help look after the forests, building a sense of community ownership.
Liane felt that planting Tiny Forests is a perfect way of starting conversations about climate change. She is passionate about the way Tiny Forest can crystallise messages and learning into such a visible, interesting resource for the community. Liane says,
“I would encourage everyone to see if they can plant one where they live or work.”
Barnsley’s first Tiny Forest was planted at Brickpond in Goldthorpe, Rotherham in March 2021. The design features two outdoor classroom areas at each end, with a path through the forest, joining them together.
After planting day
Since it was planted, several community science monitoring days have been hosted there, run by the Earthwatch Europe science team. One of the children involved said,
“The community monitoring day was ACE!! Daniel and Mollie were absolutely brilliant and I loved spending time with them.”
The local residents are proud and protective of their Tiny Forest. Local dog walkers check it daily and replant any trees that need help. The Tree Keeper team is committed to the continued care of the site and regularly weed and tidy it.
The partner school, Astrea Academy Dearne, have given their Athena Group – a regular environmental group for children who may find other activities challenging – the responsibility of shadowing the Tree Keeper team and use the forest as part of their studies and discussions around climate change.
The Brickpond Tiny Forest is also contributing to the bigger environmental picture. This Tiny Forest was the launch of, and a key part of, the council’s 10,000 Tree Initiative. It was part of the community messaging around the benefits of tree planting in terms of sustainability and climate change. Barnsley Council will be continuing to use the methodology at their other sites as a part of their overall tree planting strategy.
Find out more about Tiny Forest here.