A tiny tour of tiny forests
Paul and his dog hit the road
August 01, 2023
Paul Salman from GoodGym Barnet is about to embark on a 10 day tour of the UK, visiting Tiny Forest sites of GoodGym's newest partner, Earthwatch Europe. Here he talks about why he is so passionate about the project and what inspired him to hit the road
I have been active with GoodGym for over seven years. During that time, I have become more concerned with the climate crisis culminating in a visit to Glasgow for Cop 26. Personally, I felt the problem was overwhelming, and wanted to consider what action I could take at a local level. GoodGym has always been involved in environmental projects and I realised then that GoodGym do more to encourage local communities to be more sustainable. One of those ways was in the planting of trees and development of green spaces - a vital part of restoring nature.
Fellow Goodgym Member Daniel Mermelstein pointed out a charity called Earthwatch that was encouraging tree planting through Tiny Forests. Tiny Forests are dense fast-growing native woodland located in urban environments, where nature is most needed. Not only do these small patches of greenery provide nature-rich habitats to support urban wildlife, they also reconnect local people with nature and enhance wellbeing. Together, we approached council members and the environmental committee to initiate the first Tiny Forest in Barnet. We worked with the council, Earthwatch and our members to find a location and eventually plant the trees in February 2022. It was a fabulous day with over 100 people and two schools involved.
The beauty of the Tiny Forest concept is that it uses a new technique for planting (the forest itself produces a natural habitat twenty percent quicker than other methods) and in its ability to engage the community with upkeep. GoodGym and Earthwatch Europe will be hosting 'citizen science' days where local residents are invited to record data on carbon capture, biodiversity, local climate affects, air quality and moisture retention. This information will be collated with other Tiny Forest all over the UK and can be used to further improve the program and engage more people.
Recently, GoodGym and Earthwatch Europe announced a wider partnership in association with the National Lottery to work with 60 communities across the UK. It occurred to me how interesting it would be to go and visit some of the other sites to compare and contrast, with our own experiences in Barnet. It appealed to me as a unique way to see parts of the country I might not otherwise visit. With this in mind, I therefore decided to do a 'tiny tour' of some of the planted forests so will be setting off in my campervan with my trusty Cockapoo Gus on the 14th of August.
The tour will take me to the following places and I'd love for people to come and join me. If you live in these areas look out for the upcoming listings on the sessions page or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for attendance details.
- 14th August - Witney, Oxford Sign up here
- 15th August - Meadow Lane, Oxford Sign up here
- 18th August - Oak Street, Wolverhampton Sign up here
- 19th August - Walsall Sign up here
- 21st August - Hinkley Sign up here
- 23rd August - Loughborough Sign up here
- 24th August - Nottingham Sign up here