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New tree in Carter Knowle park kicks off two-year community planting project

People standing around a tree
Staff from the Community Forestry Team and the Wildlife Trust

A new tree was planted at Carter Knowle Park yesterday, by officers from Sheffield Parks and Countryside’s newly expanded forestry team, celebrating the start of a two-year project of community tree planting activities to increase tree and woodland cover in the city.

Local councillors and residents joined the forestry team to plant the Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). The tree will help provide a home for wildlife and contribute to the native tree cover in the area.

The forestry team recruited four new officers recently thanks in part to support from the Woodland Trust’s Emergency Tree Fund project, Treevitalise, which will see trees planted across Sheffield and beyond.

Trees provide many benefits for both people and nature. They provide natural habitats and food source for wildlife, help absorb carbon and clean the air we breathe and slow the flow of water when it rains, reducing the chances of flood risk. Tree planting also helps to bring communities together, making people feel better about themselves and the area where they live.

For those benefits to have maximum effect, the right trees must be planted in the right locations in the right way, based on the knowledge, expertise, and planning of professional forestry staff. To meet the needs of local communities and the aims of the parks and countryside service, further resource was needed in the team and in the region.

Following a successful bid between Sheffield City Council and The Woodland Trust, £183,000 was awarded over the next two years and the council was able to recruit four new officers. The team now has one Community Forestry Manager, four officers, and we are also working in partnership with the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust and the Sheffield City Region to support three Urban Forest trainees.

In the next two years the team will be working with communities and schools on woodland creation projects, community orchards and will run tree focused events around Sheffield. The planting at Carter Knowle today was the first of these new forestry activities and further planting events will be carried out, with local people and partners across the city.

Councillor Alison Teal, Executive Member for Parks, Wellbeing and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said:

“Our trees are our finest assets, supporting our wildlife and biodiversity, our health and wellbeing, and protecting us from the effects of climate change.

“As one of the greenest cities in Europe, wherever you are in this city you’re never far from a tree and we have ambitions to increase that even more, investing in our tree stock now so that we have a rich and diverse tree population in the future.

“We’re really grateful for the partnership work and support we’ve had from the Woodland Trust. As a result of that it’s fantastic to see our new forestry officers, who bring a wealth of expertise to the service, beginning this brilliant work out in our communities. I can’t wait to see more local people getting involved in our projects over the next two years.”

Catherine Nuttgens Community Forestry Manager said:

“I’m really excited about our new team. Not only will we have the ability to work much more closely with the public and schools on a variety of tree and woodland projects, but it should allow us to explore different ways to increase canopy cover in the city, while getting the right tree in the right place for the right reason. It has been a real pleasure working with the Woodland Trust to put the bid together."

Sarah Shorley, Acting Programme Lead at Woodland Trust, said:

We are thrilled to see Sheffield’s new Community Forestry team members in post and set to deliver ambitious plans that will bring together people and trees whilst increasing canopy cover across the city.  The impacts of climate change, covid-19 and modern living make this more important than ever.” 

As part of the council’s Trees & Woodlands strategy 2018-2033, the city’s target is to plant 100,000 trees over a ten-year period.

Details of further tree planting events in areas across the city will be shared with local communities, Friends Groups and partners as and when these are organised.

Wider region Partnership and Training

The council is also working in partnership with Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust (SRWT), and the Sheffield City Region, working closely with Matt North, South Yorkshire Woodland Creation Officer.

Three Urban Forest Trainees are studying for Arboricultural qualifications whilst working alongside SRWT and the council’s Community Forestry team, funded through the NLHF Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

Matt North, South Yorkshire Woodland Creation Officer, said: "This is a great example of working together to increase woodland cover in Sheffield. We are working with Sheffield City Region to deliver the same across South Yorkshire so people in Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham enjoy the same benefits. This is only possible by the support of our partners including the Sheffield City Region.