Kids Plant Trees

We are Kids Plant Trees and we want every child in Sheffield to have the opportunity to experience nature and plant a tree.

We are a small initiative with volunteer members. We managed to plant 3,310 trees in 2020 with help from families and children across the city. 

We have big plans for 2021 and need your funding and support to achieve our goals:

1. Free planting events for families
We want to put on as many planting events as possible in tree season (November to March). We partner with Sheffield City Council’s forestry team at locations across the city and invite families to come along to help us plant. Find out more details about times and dates on our Facebook page and use Eventbrite to book.

2. Transforming school green space for children
We currently have three Sheffield schools signed up for planting projects. We aim to plant outdoor classrooms, small copses, new hedgerow, wildflower areas, or wooden planters for concrete playgrounds - whatever best suits the space. Schools do not have additional funding for this kind of project. We need to raise funds for the delivery and maintenance of the planting projects. 

3. Education programme for primary schools
We are currently researching and writing an educational programme for primary aged children which looks at biodiversity - what it is, and why it’s so unbelievably important. We want to make this free and accessible to all. This will mean creating an online resource and we raising funds to make it as fun and engaging as possible for little ones. 

We hope you can help!

Why should kids plant trees?

Scientists have said planting billions of trees across the planet is one of the biggest and cheapest ways of taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and tackling climate breakdown. 

As parents of young children the idea of planting trees captured our imagination - here’s something we could do with our families that would be a positive contribution to the big climate fightback. 

But just planting trees doesn’t feel like enough, we want to do more. 

We want to ensure our youngest generations develop the skills and resilience needed for an uncertain future. So instead of planting a tree for every child, we aim to create the opportunity for every child to plant and care for numerous trees, learning how to nurture them into fully grown woodlands. And then learning how to live and work with trees to create a sustainable future for themselves.

What is a woodland?

To a child a woodland is an adventure playground, a school room, a place to build dens, inspire imaginative play and home to never before seen birds, insects and wildlife. 

But woodland’s have invisible benefits too, research has shown spending time outdoors around trees can improve everyone’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. 

Trees, leaves and dirt are tangible ways for children to connect with nature from a very young age. Currently the UK has only 13% tree coverage in the form of woodland, compared to an average 35% in other European countries. Every child in the UK should have access to local woodland and at the moment they don’t - we want to help change that. 

Woodlands are a habitat to more things than small children...

Ensuring more woodland within the UK will give nature a chance to thrive and children an opportunity to learn how to live in harmony with our native wildlife. Badgers, voles, mice, stoats, beavers (yes, they’re making a comeback!), bats, deer (we have wild deer roaming some of the parks in Sheffield!), foxes, squirrels, pine marten and hedgehogs all need woodland to thrive. Thousands of bird species can’t survive without the food and shelter trees give them. Millions of insects and invertebrates live among the leaves, under bark, in dead wood and on the woodland floor. Around 1,000 beetle species rely on trees and woodland habitats. As do moths and butterflies along with frogs, lizards and snakes. 

Woodland’s are the outdoor classrooms we need to educate future generations. 

Where will we plant our trees? 

Our project starts in our home town of Sheffield. 

We know trees can’t be planted everywhere, if we did we’d lose other vital habitats for nature and possibly disturb already established effective carbon stores. So finding suitable places for planting is something that takes a lot of our time. 

We work closely with the SCC community forestry team and the ‘friends of’ groups of our local parks to identify suitable places to plant. In 2020 we planted 3,310 trees and have more planting events planned for 2021's tree season.  

These areas won’t give us vast amounts of space but we feel it’s vital communities are given the opportunity to easily access tree planting events and that more people will feel the benefits if trees are growing close to where they live. 

Once our parks and playground planting scheme is scheduled, we will be assisting all schools in the city to assess if they have a suitable outdoor space, then we will help source trees and organise planting events. 

And from there we move to the upland areas, the land surrounding our beautiful city. We will be working hard to partner with local farmers, Sheffield City Council and Yorkshire Water to secure larger areas of land suitable for trees. Assisting with grant applications where necessary, sourcing suitable trees and organising an army of mini planters along with their families to get the trees in the ground.

How can a small child manage to plant a tree? 

We mainly plant small whips, this is an unbranched young tree of approximately 0.5 - 1m in height and two - three years old. These are the perfect size for small children to handle. 

We also plant bigger trees called heavy standards in some areas. These are more mature trees that have grown to approximately 3 - 3.5m in height. Grown up’s are needed to help the children dig holes deep enough for these trees. The children then have a great time throwing the dirt back in the hole to cover the roots and heeling it in by stamping on the ground around the tree. 

Where do our trees come from? 

We have chosen the Woodland Trust to be our main supplier of trees. This is because all their seeds are sourced and grown from the UK and Ireland. As a community group we are eligible to apply for 900 free trees per year. 

We are also eligible to apply for 950 free trees from the TCV/OVO partnership called, ‘I Dig Trees.’ The trees they supply are all UK native trees.  

Any other trees need to be purchased with funds from charitable donations and we purchase these from the Woodland Trust. We can buy whips for £1.50. However, heavy standards cost £250 each. 

How do we know what trees to plant? 

We will follow the advice of the Woodland Trust by planting native broadleaf trees with seeds sourced and grown from the UK and Ireland. This means the trees we plant will be easier to grow and more resilient to longer periods of dry weather caused by climate breakdown. The new woodlands will also provide a crucial home for many of our native birds and insects that would otherwise struggle to survive without the food and shelter these trees provide. 

We are aiming to plant in multiple locations across the city and into the green belt. Therefore the terrain, type of soil and moisture content varies from site to site. To ensure all our trees have the best chance of survival we also take advice from an independent large scale tree planting adviser, ensuring the correct trees are chosen for each individual location. 

For trees planted in Sheffield City Council managed parks and green spaces we work closely with the SCC community forestry team, who advise on trees to be planted and co-run our tree planting events in these locations. 

What does your donation get you?

Just a £2 donation puts one tree in the ground and contributes to equipment and educational materials. If you can afford as much as £20 we will be able to help a child plant and care for 10 trees. Anymore than that and we will be getting closer to planting a small woodland. 

Please donate what you feel you can afford and consider trees as a gift for family and friends. 

Would you like to join a planting event? 

We would love to see you there! Visit our Kids Plant Trees page on Facebook and check out events. 

We would like to thank the following organisations for their support with this project. They continue to provide us with valuable inspiration and knowledge:

 - Sheffield City Council community forestry team

 - The Woodland Trust 

 - The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust 

And all those very clever scientists that are working in Nature Sciences.
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    • £20 
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Fundraising team: Kids Plant Trees (4)

Anna Parkin 
Sheffield, Yorkshire and the Humber, United Kingdom
Annie Russell 
Team member
Rebecca Lee 
Team member
Stephanie Mullen 
Team member
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