Tiny Forest, huge impact
How GoodGym Barnet are making their local area more sustainable
March 15, 2022
GoodGym Barnet have created something that has literally changed the landscape where they run, walk and cycle. Working together with local organisations, the creation of a Tiny Forest will make a difference to the local community and environment long into the future.
It's a symbol of pure nature against the ravages of the busiest of London's roads - Paul Salman
Around 18 months ago, GoodGym Barnet TaskForce member Daniel came to area activator Paul with the idea of creating a Tiny Forest in their area. Tiny Forests have been springing up since the 1970s and to Daniel, it looked like a perfect idea as GoodGym communities were feeling some disconnect during the pandemic. Creating a Tiny Forest not only offered connection within the group itself, but to other environmental groups and the local environment around them.
Tiny forest, big deal
A Tiny Forest is just as it sounds, a small, dense and fast-growing native woodland the same size as a tennis court (approx 200sqm). The benefits of a Tiny Forest are huge and include:
Creating a new habitiat for local wildflife
Providing a place for local residents to connect with nature
Providing an outdoor learning space for local school children
Bringing local community groups together
Increasing tree cover to increase biodiversity
A symbol of care
Paul has been with GoodGym Barnet for over five years and having stepped into the area activator role during the pandemic, started working on a plan to bring a Tiny Forest to the area. After many positive conversations between himself, Daniel, local councillors, the local environmental committee and green space managers, a location for the Tiny Forest was agreed at Henlys Corner- right on the side of the North Circular. Paul felt this a perfect location for the Tiny Forest as unlike many central woodlands, it would be unlikely to become trampled down by lots of passing foot traffic. "It's a symbol of pure nature against the ravages of the busiest of London's roads" he commented. "The location is a perfect fit. It screens the road, offers some flooding prevention and captures pollution. For me, it's symbolic of caring about your community. Planting trees is one of the most powerful things you can do in your environment".
For me, it's symbolic of caring about your community. Planting trees is one of the most powerful things you can do in your environment - Paul Salman
For Paul, who is passionate about environmental issues, the creation of a Tiny Forest with GoodGym Barnet was meaningful and he set out on a passionate planning process to bring it to fruition.
Taking root with Earth Watch
With support and funding from the brilliant Earth Watch, an environmental charity with science at its heart, plans were put into place and along with various local community projects and schools, Paul set about planning a big planting day to bring everyone together. This took place on February 24th, where around 100 members of the local community came together for a planting day community mission at which an incredible 600 trees were planted in just two hours.
While this task clearly had a big impact, it's a project that will keep growing for many years to come. Earth Watch provides opportunities for Citizen Science days, allowing ordinary members of the community the chance to collect data such as carbon capture, measurements and butterfly counting. GoodGym Barnet will take part in a rolling community mission approximately every six weeks where GoodGymers will visit the Tiny Forest to check up on it, collect litter and report back to Earth Watch. Having ownership of a space like this is really special. You can read about the first of those missions here.
Lots of great stuff has been written about Tiny Forest Barnet, including this great article in the Barnet Post.
Further opportunities are planned to help out at the Tiny Forest, just check out upcoming sessions and get in touch if you'd like to get involved.