Our First Planting Day!
On Jan 22nd, Youngwilders and Charity Buddy had our first volunteer planting day at Maple Farm. The day involved 30 people planting 1050 hedgerow whips of hawthorn, blackthorn, crab apple, dogwood, dog rose, field maple, hazel and oak. As these grow, they’ll begin to connect three areas of woodland that are currently separated by a large grazed field, creating corridors that will link up the habitats and provide a major boost for biodiversity on the site.
The planting process was broken down into 8 teams of 3 or 4. After each team was shown the planting process, they got to work, feeling out their own rhythm and tactics as the day progressed. Given there was limited daylight hours (and a perhaps overlong lunch break) the number of trees each team needed to plant was around 30 per hour. And somehow, our crack teams of tree planting powerhouses managed to do it. A special moment came in the final push when the separated team structure was abandoned as we all rushed to plant the remaining stretch of hedgerow as a single 30 person superorganism.
Kaye Song, a talented photographer and longtime friend, volunteered her services as the day’s documenter. Despite the unrelenting grey backdrop, the pictures came out beautifully! Some pics are attached, more can be found on the Maple Farm and Youngwilders Instagrams. Further documentation was provided by Joe Revans, a new friend who has been studying and documenting rewilding as part of his Material Futures MA at UAL. He was filming, photographing and interviewing throughout the day, listening to people’s visions for the site. An early output of his project is attached - an ‘a/b manifesto’ about rewilding at Maple Farm. The columns show a progression from how the interviewees understood the farm as it is now (column a), to how they imagine it being post-wilding (column b). It’s wonderful to see the potential transformation of the land broken down so simply!
If our feedback forms are to be believed, the volunteers had an enjoyable day! The main piece of feedback was a desire to hold more planting events, which was a lovely thing to hear and something we aim to oblige. A special mention should go to the arrival of a hot air balloon that swooped in mid-afternoon and was somehow close enough for us to exchange some words. An exciting and surreal moment in an exciting and surreal day, as we saw a huge amount of conversation and planning come to fun-filled fruition.