A BRADFORD primary school is the first in the district to plant a 'Tiny Forest' on its grounds.

Bowling Park Primary is holding a planting day on Wednesday when pupils, staff, members of Earthwatch, Bradford Council and volunteers from the local community will start the transformation of a small section of land.

A Tiny Forest is an area of land the size of a tennis court, densely planted with 600 native trees, plants and ground cover. This is a Japanese method designed to accelerate forest development, pioneered by Dr Akira Miyawaki and brought to the UK for the first time by Earthwatch Europe.

Bowling Park Primary has worked with Earthwatch and Bradford Council to set up this project and the council hopes to get more Tiny Forests created across the district.

Funding has come from the Defra Green Recovery Challenge Fund and MINI Electric

Tiny Forests are community-led tree-planting initiatives which aim to improve local access to green space and help communities to better understand the challenges faced by nature.

They can help mitigate flooding and heat stress, improve biodiversity and are a good option for urban areas with limited space, bringing nature and green landscapes to these areas. This also makes them a good asset to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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Earthwatch has planted 28 Tiny Forests across the UK so far, with plans to plant 150 by 2023. As well as providing green space and opportunities to connect with nature to local communities, environmental and social data will be collected to assess the benefits of the project to people and the environment over time.

Matthew Langley, Headteacher, at Bowling Park Primary School said: “We are delighted to get this Tiny Forest at our school. Both our schools are based right in the centre of the city so it really matters to us that our children have the opportunity to experience and appreciate the natural environment. The Tiny Forest will be a great way for the children to learn about nature and the environment for years to come, as well as being a source of wellbeing, reflecting the changing seasons. Thank you to all those who have made this possible.”

Louise Hartley, Tiny Forest Programme Manager at Earthwatch said: “Bowling Park Primary’s Tiny Forest will give pupils, teachers and the whole community an amazing opportunity to reconnect with nature right on their doorstep. It will also play a vital part in our scientific research into how we can mitigate the effects of climate change.”

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Portfolio Holder for Healthy People and Places, said: “Tiny Forests are a great way of urban areas being able to bring nature and green spaces to communities, as well as reducing carbon. I am sure that the children at Bowling Park will also benefit from and enjoy their new forest for years to come.”

David George, Director, MINI UK & Ireland said “Creative use of space is at the heart of MINI, so the partnership between MINI Electric and Earthwatch Europe to plant Tiny Forests is a perfect fit. We’re really excited about how Tiny Forests can bring communities together and help educate on the important role biodiversity plays in sustainability.”