Tunde Morakinyo of the Friends of Meath Gardens writes:
PLANT MORE TREES! Friends of Meath Gardens, PAVEGEN and Tower Hamlets Council come together to plant 70 trees in a community park.
The Friends of Meath Gardens (FoMG) is a community association established to improve Meath Gardens, for the people in the local area and for wildlife. A year ago, they developed a master plan for the gardens in close collaboration with the Council. This included a tree planting plan, which aimed to create wildlife corridors, linking wooded habitats in the park and also acting as a screen for noise from the nearby railway.
As a result, the Council introduced FoMG to a company called PAVEGEN, who donated 70 native trees to help make the gardens’ master plan a reality. PAVEGEN makes and sells floor tiles that generate electricity when people walk on them and they donate trees to community spaces as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility policy.
On 4 March, FoMG and PAVEGEN organised a community event to plant the trees. In preparation for the event, FoMG put flyers in all the buildings around the park as well as in all the local pubs, restaurants and shops nearby. We also worked closely with Council officers to arrange access to the nearby Ecology Pavilion in Mile End Park for teas and coffees for volunteers on the day. Council officers also arranged for vehicular access to the park for delivery of the trees, tools from the tool shed (also close by), access to water for the trees from the football changing rooms located in the park, and 5 tonnes of topsoil.
On the day itself we were very lucky to have sunshine, and over 50 volunteers showed up to plant the trees. It was hard work but lots and lots of fun and the Park Rangers were on hand to help demonstrate the right techniques for digging the holes for the trees, staking them, and generally making sure they were properly planted. At around midday, Siruj Islam and Amy Whitelock Gibbs, two of the councillors for Bethnal Green Ward, came to see and support the event. We stopped work briefly for some pictures and then it was back to work until 3.30pm when the last tree was planted!
Since then, many trees have been “adopted” by people who planted them, and almost every day you can see people in the park introducing friends to “their” tree. What a great day it was! We would like to give our huge thanks to Tower Hamlets Council officers, particularly the Park Rangers and the Green Team, and of course to PAVEGEN who donated the trees in the first place. The event was a wonderful day that brought a community together, creating sense of belonging, learning new skills, helping to enhance biodiversity and beautifying a much loved local park.
All photos by Friends of Meath Gardens