Regeneration and Rebirth

With the tilt of the Earth at 23.4° now working in the Northern Hemisphere’s favour, thereby collecting more solar radiation and awakening dormant seeds and buds in trees and plants. Spring is a time of regeneration and the fresh green colours are vibrant at this time of year, showing off their vitality and cells packed with chlorophyll to harvest energy from the Sun.

spring leaves

Fresh green leaves of spring.

Bluebells are out providing tones of blue and are protected under English law.

Bluebells poking through the trees.

 

bluebells

Bluebells take 5 -7 years to establish.

 

Young calves also enjoy the spring, with new sights and sounds appearing.

A symbol seen across Europe in churches, with archetypal links to Osiris, St George and Al Khidr, is the Green Man. The Green Man is a potent symbol representing regeneration, renewal and rebirth, as well as human connection with Nature.

Green Man at Rosslyn Chapel (Johanne McInnis)

 

 

Mass Planting of Trees

To plant multiple trees usually depends on a large amount of people, the use of technology, or a combination of both. These routes will be looked at here, first looking at India.

In India last year, 1.5 million volunteers planted 66 million trees in 12 hours, which is most likely a new record. Saplings of 20 different species were place along the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh. This is an example which shows what can be done with political will and a recognition of what is needed in this time of anthropogenic climate change. India is third in the world for carbon emissions.

mass tree planting

1.5 million volunteers making a great change.

Another route being explored for mass planting is the use of drones. The startup Biocarbon Engineering uses drone technology to fire seed pods into the ground, with follow-up care done by local communities. A hectare of planting can be covered in 15 minutes, with preferred projects of 100 hectares. One hundred thousand pods can be planted in a day. This technological route bodes well for the future, although care is still needed to make a seed grow into a tree.

drone planting trees

A drone linked to mapping technology can plant a hectare of seed pods in 15 minutes. [Biocarbon Engineering]

A third route, is to combine humans and technology to achieve large scale planting. This is what we are working on at Teratrees, which also has the advantage of connecting young people to Nature. We believe through many humans and the internet, many projects can be initiated, and we continue to work towards this goal.

silver birch whips

A team of students surveying their handiwork in a local London park.

 

Why Cold is Good

London bus in snow

A good snowfall in London initially delighted the residents.

With the recent cold snap in the UK brought about by Siberian weather with the storm named the ‘Beast from the East’, much was disrupted. Schools closed their doors, planes and trains were cancelled or delayed and many people had trouble getting into work. Supply chains were halted and supermarket shelves ran empty. People stayed indoors and the cost to the economy was estimated at £1bn per day.

empty shelves

Supermarket shelves were quickly emptied as deliveries failed.

With the novelty of a bright snowfall in London quickly losing its allure, and the risk of reduced gas supply for central heating, one may wonder if there is any benefit to such cold weather.

However, we are just one species on this planet. Cold is needed by Nature for trees and crops to grow properly, and for fruit to be harvestable. Below are a few key advantages of cold weather periods

Vernalisation

Many plants grown in temperate climates require a period of cold weather to start the plant’s flowering process, called vernalisation. This ensures seed and reproductive development occur in winter and spring, rather than autumn. This required cold is expressed in chill hours, usually in temperatures below 7 °C and above 0 °C. For example, apples trees require around 300 chill hours to ensure that they blossom in spring, rather than winter, which would be harmful to their growth.

Ready for Spring

Hardy bulbs required cold weather to elongate their stem. Mild winters or when grown indoors can produce flowers from bulbs which clump on the stem, as seen in indoor daffodils. During winter, herbaceous plants store processed CO2 as starch in their roots. With a cold period before spring enzymes are triggered and convert stored starch to soluble sugars, ready for rapid growth. This rapid growth also ensures they have enough light as the many annual plants germinate at the same time.

Insects

Moths, aphids, worms and beetles are all reduced when the temperature sharply lowers, giving trees a chance in the spring for some initial bug-free growth.

Sweet Vegetables

While this is more for humans, after a good snap of cold weather vegetables like parsnips will be sweeter, as starch is quickly converted to soluble sugars in spring.

While increasingly erratic weather from global warming is not in general helpful for all, including Nature, one should keep in mind that good periods of cold weather are needed by plants and trees to function at their best before spring.

 

 

 

A Northern Forest!

The idea of a new Northern Forest is not new, and has been kept alive in the minds of smaller organisations including the Woodland Trust and local Community Forest partners. It is great to see, however, that this idea made its way upwards and the government is now behind it to create a ‘green ribbon’ of 50 million trees stretching from Liverpool across to the east coast (see below).

northern forest in England

Proposed ‘green ribbon’ of trees to be planted from coast to coast.

£5.7 million will be used to kickstart the project, which will include the creation of broadleaf woodlands and help to sustain existing forests. This part of the UK is only 7.6 % covered by trees, below the national average of 13 %, and well below the EU average of 25  – 30 %. This project has a 25 year span and comes on the back of poor planting levels for 2016 of only 700 hectares, far below government targets of 5000 hectares per year. The Northern Forest project will cost an estimated £500 million which will largely be needed to be raised by charities. This project will require graft and commitment, but the benefits to future generations will be multiple.

Where does the money come from?

Ironically the initial funds are coming from the HS2 fund which is clearly a political move to quieten opponents. HS2 will threaten 32 ancient woodlands according to Friends of the Earth, and the point is made that ancient woodlands can not be created in a short time span. It is also hoped further funds will be injected by landowners after reformed subsidies, post-Brexit.

A vision for the future

Despite the passage of HS2, it is hoped that this is the start of bolder thinking with Michael Gove as the Environment Secretary and that the long term benefits of woodlands are appreciated. Extreme weather events are set to increase – one way of helping flood management is through tree planting.

 

 

 

Sinclair House Students Green Bishops Park

On a frosty Tuesday morning, 41 young students from Sinclair House School led by the Pastoral Deputy Head, Ms Charlotte Wheeler, made their way to Bishops Park. Armed with trowel and big smiles, they proceeded to plant 60 native hornbeam trees to help the park with their hedge. Hedges are also important for wildlife ecosystems such as birds.

planting hornbeams with Teratrees

Smiling faces after 60 native hornbeams are planted

 

The Council were much appreciative as budgets are stretched, thus with the support of the parents of the students and teaching staff, these trees could be funded and planted. The trees will also have stakes and plastic tubes for protection.

One of the objectives of Teratrees is to connect children with nature, and this was a great success. Further projects may well occur in Bishops Park to help sustain the park and help with the local air quality.

Sinclair House School Launch a Teratrees Campaign

Sinclair House Preparatory School in Fulham have launched a campaign to green their local neighbourhood! They will be planting native hornbeam trees in Bishops Park, a place they often frequent for school activities.

Sinclair House School

The planting of these trees will help these young students to connect with nature, as well as to improve the local air quality which is much needed in London!

To support their campaign, register on the home page by clicking on the pink button. Then,

  1. You will automatically land on the Campaign tab when you login.
  2. Top up with Tera, our currency (£1 = 20 Tera)
  3. Click on the Sinclair House Goes Green campaign, you will see Common Hornbeam in the window below.
  4. Click on the green tick to buy a tree. One tree is going for 120 Tera (£6).
  5. Once it is planted it will appear in My Teratrees>My Garden. Your transactions can be seen by clicking on the History button in the Account tab.
american hornbeam

A mature hornbeam

 

A Grove of Silver Birches Planted by Team Sabesan!

It was great to see an organised bunch of students plant 30 silver birches in Roundwood Park as part of The Challenge (NCS). This will be a future grove of trees in the park and this species grow supporting each other and enriching the soil. A number of locals walking in the park stopped by and issued words of encouragement!

 

tree planting

Present spades!

silver birch whips

Team Sabesan of the The Challenge survey their handiwork.

 

 

Team Sabesan of the NCS launch a Teratrees Campaign!

This week Team Sabesan as part of the National Citizen Service (NCS – The Challenge), is running a Teratrees campaign to plant more trees and green the local community of Brent!

National Citizen Service

This enthusiastic group of students from the local neighbourhood are looking for support (online and offline) to help them achieve this goal.

They will be looking to plant 30 silver birches in Roundwood Park as a green investment in the area and in the process also connect with Nature.

Your support will be much appreciated by them, by the Brent community and by the local fauna and flora who will appreciate this boost to the park! In a few years local air quality will also be helped by these trees. These trees also help bring nutrients to the surface of the soil and stabilise the ground during heavy rain.

To support their campaign online via this website, please follow the easy steps below:

  1. Register and login to Teratrees via the Home page.
  2. Top-up with Tera. Each tree will be selling for 100 Tera (£5). Note VAT will be added to your top-up.
  3. Click on the Sabeseeds campaign in the Campaign tab. Details will appear in the lower window. Then click on the green tick for Buy, to support one of their silver birches!
  4. Once the tree has been planted by the students it will appear in your own profile called My Garden (part of the My Teratrees tab).

Many thanks and best of luck to Team Sabesan!

Birch grove

The students will create a lovely grove of birches.