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How 11,000 children planted 66,000 new trees

18 June 2018

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Trees for Learning has completed its second year – and the results are impressive with the programme 8% ahead of target and data from schools indicating a positive impact on children's wellbeing.
Trees for Learning is a major project to encourage schools to plant trees within school grounds and local green spaces. It forms part of DEFRA's pledge to support schools to plant 1 million trees by 2020. 

England's Community Forests are working together to hit the target of helping primary schools plant 164,000 trees over four years.

We help schools decide what to plant and where by providing expert design advice, we provide support on planting days and ensure that plans are in place for long-term management and use by children. 

Download the full report below.

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Forest pops-up in Liverpool city centre

31 May 2018

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Williamson Square with the pop up forest
Shoppers and office workers found a new attraction in Liverpool's Williamson Square on Wednesday last week – a living breathing forest.
The 15 large trees (Betula Jaquemontii, a type of birch) transformed the urban square providing some welcome shade in the hot weather. Installed for EU Green Week by the Urban GreenUP team, the trees were a practical demonstration of the value of greening Liverpool.

Visitors to the square were overwhelmingly positive. Comments includes:

"Our trees are our future. They sustain our wellbeing. We need to bring back the elegance and beauty nature provides - naturally!"

"It's lovely to have in town. If you sit there you wouldn't think you were in town. It's tranquil."

"Is it staying? It's beautiful!"

A thermal imaging camera was used to visually demonstrate the cooling effects a tree canopy has on hot summer days:

Over the next two years Urban GreenUP (a partnership between Liverpool City Council, Mersey Forest and the University of Liverpool) will be installing a number of nature-based solutions that help us better manage a changing climate, alleviate air and water pollution and reduce floods. These nature-based solutions will include planting trees, installing vertical green walls and green roofs, and creating rain gardens – as well as planting lots of wildflowers to brighten the city!

Shoppers and office workers were asked for their views on the first of the new proposals which involve creating or improving green corridors in the Baltic area, Ropewalks, Princes Park, Sefton Park and Otterspool Park. Many were enthusiastic about the scheme:

"Fabulous to see this initiative. The city centre needs greening-up"

"It will make Liverpool city centre a more attractive place to visit or go around in"

The UrbanGreenUP improvements will be evaluated to measure their impact on local people and businesses as well as on the local air quality, surface water flooding, and the numbers and types of flowering plants and insects. This research will allow us to assess which nature-based solutions work best and suggest cost-effective options for future projects in Liverpool.

The Pop Up Forest made the news as Liverpool BID Company Chief Executive, and The Mersey Forest's Clare Olver were interviewed by BBC local radio and the day was closely followed on social media:

Give your views on the proposals

Baltic, Princes Park, Sefton Park, Otterspool Park 


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The Mersey Forest inspires next generation of foresters

23 May 2018

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Forestry students touring Colliers Moss
Students from the National School of Forestry visited our Colliers Moss regeneration site to learn how forestry can benefit communities.
The students took a tour around Colliers Moss accompanied by Carl Smethurst and Yendle Barwise from the Mersey Forest team. The study tour covered the history of the site – the transformation of a 55 hectare former colliery tip to a valued open space right on the doorstep of local residents – and the challenges of managing a woodland site in a semi-urban area.

The site – part of Bold Forest Park  – has seen many improvements in the last two years. Entrance ways have been given a makeover and more than a mile of footpaths improved, including a programme of clearing back vegetation from paths that had been unmanaged for years.

The students discussed the management regime of the site's most valuable wildlife habitats including clearing reeds, opening up areas of heathland and ensuring the remnant mosslands around the site thrive into the future.

The tour also covered the social and economic benefits of the site and wider Bold Forest Park, and the aspiration for these green spaces to enable local people to safely be active, connect with nature and come together as a community.

The students also discussed The Mersey Forest's innovative wood allotments scheme, which allows community members to get involved in woodland management and benefit from free firewood.

The site visit – in glorious sunshine – was extended due to the students' level of interest in the achievements at Colliers Moss. The success of the training day has led to the National School of Forestry planning to create a new session in their policy module covering these kind of approaches to community forestry.

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Protecting your privacy

23 May 2018

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Long-eared owls at Culcheth
At The Mersey Forest we are committed to protecting your privacy. We've updated our Privacy Policy to reflect upcoming changes in data protection law, and to better explain how and why we collect your personal information.

If you've ever contacted us or signed up as a supporter you might want to have a quick look, to check how we will use your personal data.

Photo © Mike Roberts

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Are you a friend of Hob Hey Wood?

14 May 2018

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Volunteers in Hob Hey Wood
We're seeking people to get involved with caring for Frodsham's Hob Hey Wood – a rare remnant of Ancient Woodland within The Mersey Forest.
Working with local residents, we want to set up a Friends' Group for this vital woodland – helping to ensure that it is properly managed and cared for in years to come. The five hectare site is owned by Frodsham Town Council and includes a mix of trees including oak, sycamore, ash, birch and hawthorn.

A community consultation took place in March, followed by an on-site meeting in April which included a guided walk around part of the wood led by foresters Ben Greenaway and Yendle Barwise, to illustrate the value of woodland management and the benefits it brings to trees, nature and people. The group discussed activities that a Friends Group could drive forward, including improving access and planting trees and woodland wildflowers.

wood anemones in Hob Hey WoodWood anemones in Hob Hey Wood

The group also discussed the site's Woodland Management Plan (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Saltscape project), and the new Forest Charter. The long-term vision is to protect the structure of the woodland, improve the bio-diversity, and encourage public access along paths.

The Mersey Forest has had many years of supporting Friends groups to get established and to develop. Groups organise activities and events – such as practical task days to care for their woodlands, fun events from teddy bears' picnics to plays and concerts and learning events for example bird identification courses or wildlife photography workshops.

There is also the opportunity to develop a wood allotment group, either alongside or as part of the Friends group. Wood allotments gives people the chance to sustainably harvest wood from carefully marked trees – giving them free logs, while the woodland thrives from better management.

Next steps

The next stage for Hob Hey Wood is for a meeting of interested residents on Wednesday 23rd May 7pm at Castle Park. If are keen to get involved, please contact or call 01925 816217 and ask for Yendle.

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