Parks and open spaces under seige again !

Another summer and another battle to keep our parks and open spaces safe and clean for residents. Already, Travellers have invaded several parks, and this year there has been the added threat of 'people' setting fires in tinder dry areas without understanding the consequences!

We rely heavily on our already stretched Parks staff and now that 'stretch' is being tested. Please report anything you think may prevent a crime on 101 and/or speak to the Park Rangers if available.

BTFL will be busy planning our sites in the next month and then, sooner than everyone wants, the Winter will be here and our planting season will start ! Watch this site for a list of venues and the opportunity to come along and volunteer alongside our small friendly team.


Impressive Yr 6 pupils !

We spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Year 6 pupils from St Bernadettes RC Primary visiting Heybarnes recreation ground, which lies almost next door to their school. Only the River Cole comes between them and this very diverse open urban space.

The object of our summer forays is to spend more time with schools, talking about trees in general as a follow up to plantings we have done with their schools in local parks. When we plant our trees most of the saplings have no leaves, so the chance to see them showing leaves and in some case fruit offers the opportunity to begin learning the names of different species and how they spread their seeds.

Today we had all 3 classes from Year 6 so there are further photos that are available via this link

In search of Tree Champions in Sheldon

BTFL were out and about in Sheldon Country Park encouraging visitors to try and spot the differences in trees, rather than see them as 'one green blur' !

Numbers for our actual tree information walk were low (possibly the extreem heat and the open area kept visitors down), but families we met on site were very interested to receive one of the Woodland Trust tree identification swatches we were distributing and immediately set about trying to match leaf shaps and structures to those trees around them.

Several of the adults actually surprised themselves at the number of leaves they managed to identify, but as usual there were lots of questions from the younger family members who always seem eager to learn.


 To view our album of this event, follow this link.




Whilst at Sheldon we took the opportunity to revisit a small coppice of Rowan Trees that BTFL had planted several years ago, at the Rangers request, to attract Waxwings. It was heartening to see that they are now well established and fruiting.

Our thanks to Sheldon Ranger Service for the use of the schoolroom on site.


Hot sun at Heybarnes !

Year 3 pupils from St Bernadettes RC Primary joined us for a different type of BTFL 'event' today.  They were just the 2nd recipients of a new venture that sees us spending additional time with schools revisiting sites where they have previously planted, to see what their trees look like in summer.

We all spent a lovely afternoon looking at leaves, trees and bugs and all the pupils went back, reluctantly, to school,  knowing just a little bit more about trees and the part they play in the food web.


 A couple more pics via this link.



  What's that I see ????

 Some of the rare shade in Heybarnes recreation ground today.





(Some pupils are not allowed to participate in photographs but as they were all keen to be included will have to excuse their 'rear' shot!)

Revisiting Jones Wood with The Deanery....

Great session today with year 4's from The Deanery C of E Primary, as we all revisited the site where they had 'planted' trees in Jones Wood.

Today, instead of planting trees, we tried to find out a little more about them. What type of trees, how old are they? Do they drop their leaves or keep them over winter? Who lives in them? Who eats them? So many questions- most of them coming from the pupils themselves.

Our thanks to them all for making todays session so enjoyable and offerring a chance for us to shelter in the dappled shade of the beautiful woodland area that is Jones Wood.


Big Healthy Lunch

Great day at Cofton Park yesterday when BTFL joined lots of other organisations interested in helping people improve their health and life style. Sustrans, Wildlife Trust,Greener Birmingham to mention a few! Hot sun, ice cream and lots of activities. Who could ask for more?

Community Tree Champion event 30th June

We are running a Tree Champion Workshop at Sheldon Country Park on 30th June - why not come along and learn more about trees?  Bring the family!

Greener Birmingham Day Out 24th June

BTFL is a member of the Greener Birmingham Coalition, a group of green, environmental and conservation organisations in the city working together to promote the city's green environment.

The coalition is organising a Greener Birmingham Day Out on 24th June to encourage local people to get out and walk or cycle around Birmingham's green spaces this summer.  You can find out more by downloading the leaflet here or checking out the website

Bring a picnic to The Big Healthy Lunch at Cofton Park at the end of the walk/cycle.  And you can take and share photos of your green journey too.

So why not get outside with the family and enjoy Birmingham's wonderful parks and open spaces this summer!  It's good for mind, body and soul to connect to nature, get some fresh air and exercise in the green.  Have fun!

Clean Air Day 21st June

We all understand the importance of trees, and among many other benefits, trees can help to remove pollution from the air we breathe.  Clean Air Day is on 21st June; BTFL plants lots of trees each winter - why not see what you can do to get involved and help to reduce our city's air pollution?  

BOSF(Birmingham Open Spaces) Conference

This year's BOSF Conference took on a different look as the two afternoon sessions meant that members had the chance to learn more about, and take part in, different activities carried out in Parks. The morning session involved speakers from several organisations and also gave delegates the chance of having 'just a minute' to champion their own group.

Afternoon practical sessions varied from learning about the technical equipment that the Tree Officers use to determine the health/stability of a tree, to learning about green wood working. Also available were workshops to help with event organisation and health and safety assessment.



     Lee Southall showing his skills at wood turning.




The BOSF Conference always offers the chance for Friends groups to connect with Birmingham Trees for Life and also an opportunity for us, as an organisation, to network with the various BCC Parks employees and interested well as enjoying a hearty lunch and cake!!

Civic Society Centenary Arboretum

The Lord Mayor was joined at Lickey today by the Chairman of Birmingham Civic Society and the Chairman of BTFL to help plant 25 new specimen trees in an area below the Visitor Centre. The Lickey Rangers had enlisted the support of their Tuesday volunteers to do a lot of the hard work in advance, digging the holes and pre-planting some of the trees, in what proved to be extremely wet and muddy conditions.

The event was held as part of BTFL's contributions to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Birmingham Civic Society in 2018. The 25 new and unusual trees have been added to the existing arboretum area and it is hoped that this will now be known as the 'Civic Society Centenary Arboretum'.  Members of the Lickey Hills Society and the Civic Society, together with some members of the general public, helped to plant the last few trees on the day.

Conditions today were wet and very muddy as our photo album will show !

After the planting we were treated to a walk amongst the unusual trees of the arboretum area, with identification and descriptions by Simon Needle, followed by hot drinks and biscuits in the Old School House.

Our thanks to Steve Hinton and Simon Needle for working with the volunteers to prepare the site and help us avoid the worst of the mud!

Congratulations to Birmingham Civic Society on 100 years of their work in Birmingham.

More Redwoods for beautiful Kings Norton Park

BTFL were back again today for the third time with the Friends of Kings Norton Park to continue establishing an avenue of beautiful Redwoods. Our thanks go to our friend Luc for helping to fund today's trees, and also for getting 'down and dirty' with everyone in the mud today !

As well as some members of the Friends, we were also joined by 2 families with their children who really entered into the planting and moved a fair amount of Kings Norton clay in order to get 4 new Redwoods into the ground. You can see everyone caked in mud via this link !

  Luc may look like he is doing all this on his own.......but honest, we were all there !

Kings Norton Park is a beautiful open space and this avenue of Redwoods already enhances the area, but given time it will be magnificent!