Anette Lien of Trees for Cities writes:
In partnership with Tower Hamlets Council and with funding from Bloomberg, Trees for Cities arranged a tree planting event in Jolly’s Green with volunteers and the local community earlier this month.
With the help of 59 volunteers, 17 Wild Cherry and Copper Beech trees were planted on Saturday 12 October. The new bright and beautiful trees across Jolly’s Green will create habitats for wildlife and add splashes of colour throughout the seasons. The park will benefit greatly from the trees planted, as it’s situated directly next to the highly trafficked A12/Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach.
Local councillor Kahar Chowdhury, who got stuck into the tree planting on the day, said: “It’s fantastic to see everyone working hard towards making our environment more green, and how spaces like Jolly’s Green can be utilised for the local community. It’s especially important to plant trees here as it’s adjacent to A12 and can help combat the carbon emissions. I’m really pleased to see so many kids and young people here contributing and understanding the significance of trees and how they will help future generations.”
Trees for Cities’ Urban Forest team had surveyed the soil and environment and identified good places to plant the new trees, and got valuable input from the local community through consultations. This project served as a great opportunity to engage the local residents, community groups and local schools in order to get them out planting trees and spending more time in their local park. As well as the 17 trees planted on the community planting day, earlier in the week 5 Scots pine trees were planted by corporate volunteer groups in the existing woodland area and 4 Hawthorn trees were planted with local schools alongside Andrew Street. Manorfield Primary School sent this tweet after helping with the planting.
Local resident Nasima Moshid said: “We live in the high rise next to the park, and when we looked out the window the kids went ‘mummy can we go plant a tree, please’. So we put our wellies on and got stuck in! You get a really nice sense of community here and it’s lovely meeting new people. It’s especially nice to see so many kids out today, despite the rain. I used to live in Swansea, close to lovely scenery, so it’s nice to get a bit of nature in the city centre as well.”
For Trees for Cities, the planting day was extra special. In 1999, the charity planted trees here to act as a barrier between the park and the busy road, which have turned into a lovely woodland patch. Among the local volunteers present on the day, a few also volunteered with the charity in the park 20 years ago. One of them was Neville Reid, who said:
“I live in one of the homes near the park. When the Council built new homes on part of Jolly’s Green 30 years ago, the remaining green space was just grass with a small number of old trees. The 1999 planting was designed to cut down traffic noise and pollution from the Blackwall Tunnel Approach. As a piece of woodland it has grown and lasted well. Residents have been supportive of the changes in the park, and people from at least four households joined in the tree planting today, despite the rain. Trees are good to look at, good for wildlife, and good for air quality, which is a big problem in the city.”
All photos by Matthew Smith