Bettys & Taylors Woodland Festival Saturday 28th May 2016
It’s the end of February and spring feels like a long way off. But this is tree-planting season and that means getting out in all weather, says Isabel McKenzie, Ethical Projects Officer at Bettys & Taylors. It’s also one of the joys of our local tree planting programmes- Bettys & Taylors staff able to volunteer and witness the powerful connection that happens when young people get outdoors and learn about, and contribute towards our natural surroundings.
With autumn here, we’ve started work on the next phase of our ‘Seedlings at Schools’ project with environmental charity, Groundwork. It’s been fantastic to see thousands of school children around Yorkshire planting trees and learning about the natural world around them and over the last they have helped to plant over 3000 trees in our beautiful Yorkshire landscape.
The warmer weather has given local school children who are part of our Seedlings at Schools project the chance to explore and enjoy their local woodlands. In May, a carpet of bluebells adorned Middleton woods in Ilkley and pupils from Ashlands Primary School took the opportunity to visit the woods for a den-building day out.
As part of our ‘Yorkshire Tree’ campaign we’ve just launched Taylors first ever app, The Gruffalo and the Vanishing Wood. It’s a fun and educational mini-game designed for children aged three to seven to teach them about the value of trees.
The free app asks players to help save the deep dark wood by taking a stroll with the Gruffalo and Mouse to plant trees before they all vanish from their woodland home.
Yorkshire Tea has been out and about with The Gruffalo this month, celebrating our new pledge to plant a million trees in the UK and Kenya over the next five years. The project – ‘Yorkshire Tree’ – is working with The Gruffalo and The Woodland Trust to inspire schools and families to care for and enjoy our natural world, while planting trees in practice.
Did you know that in many countries trees are an important part of the tea making process? The energy needed to dry the leaves that we enjoy in every cup often comes from wood fuel, and one of our challenges has been to try and help this wood to be sourced sustainably so that it does not damage indigenous forests in tea growing countries.
As well as supporting projects that help to address wood fuel needs for communities and tea farms (you can find out more here), we’ve also been helping to pioneer new ways to generate energy for the process. On a recent trip to one of our top Kenyan suppliers, Makomboki tea factory, John the factory manager was keen to tell us about the success of an initiative, part-funded by our Supplier Grant Scheme, to install the biomass dryer for their new briquette machine which uses waste biomass to generate energy for tea processing.
We’ve been celebrating National Tree Week by getting together with children from St Barnabas School in York to plant trees in their school grounds. Thanks to our ‘Seedlings at Schools’ project with environmental charity, Groundwork, the eco-friendly youngsters planted a mixture of native saplings, which they’ll be able to care for over the years.
As well as planting trees in practice, the children are learning about why trees are so important – both for the environment and for people.
We’re excited to have launched our Seedlings at Schools initiative, working in partnership with local environmental charity Groundwork.
Thanks to all those who support Bettys Trees for Life initiatives we’re providing valuable environmental education to primary school children around Yorkshire.
Each year, we invite the people who supply our Yorkshire Tea and Taylors Coffee to apply for our Taylors Grant Scheme.
This fund helps tea and coffee producers make changes and improvements to their farms and cooperatives. Our supplier comes up with the idea, and we each fund half the cost. This year our grants helped to support projects ranging from water projects in Kenya and Guatemala to a musical project in Brazil and cooking stoves in Kenya. There were also a good few tree-planting projects inlcuding the planting of 50,000 indigenous tree seedlings in Malawi.
We donned our wellies to plant 150 saplings at our Trees for Life Wood at RHS Garden Harlow Carr. The wood, which will tell the story of the importance of trees in our lives, is being planted up this autumn with a plethora of young, native trees such as Rowan, Willow, Hornbeam, Oak and Pine.