About

Community Engagement

The Calder Valley is already home to a number of established organisations and businesses that actively work with the community to lay the foundations for a more creative, innovative, and environmentally sustainable future. Over the years, we've seen organisations such as Treesponsibility, Calder Future, Slow the Flow, Straw Works, LiveWild, Handmade Parade, Creative with Nature, and Incredible Edible bring about a lot of positive changes in the local environment and people’s attitude towards each other, our community, and the world we live in. We endeavour to work in harmony with these organisations and contribute further towards a greener and more sustainable future by creating a community hub to educate the public about practices that can help to protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations.

As an organisation that aims to be very inclusive, we are very fortunate to be situated in the Calder Valley, where there is a rich cultural and ethnic diversity. We would like to provide a positive learning and working environment for people of all backgrounds, and do what we can to support and collaborate with organisations that work with vulnerable people in our community.

Can I volunteer?

Yes, we work with volunteers throughout the year, and can offer volunteering opportunities in a number of areas - from seed collection to tree planting and wildlife habitat creation. We strive to work with the local community as much as possible, in order to grow and plant trees locally, create a greater awareness of reforestation and natural flood management, and hopefully get more people excited about planting trees!

If you would like to volunteer, please click here to apply.

Please note that, since a lot of our work is seasonal, the amount of volunteers that we need varies. We may send you details of volunteering opportunities with Treesponsibility, if we don’t have anything to offer you at the moment.

How Does Forus Tree Operate?

We’re a not-for-profit worker’s co-operative and social enterprise. This means that everyone that works for our company gets the same pay, and any profits or surpluses are either reinvested into the organisation or put into the general reserve, which we use to create and preserve more woodland. Including volunteers into our regular team as much as possible, enables us to maximise the amount of trees we plant while raising awareness in the local community and encouraging active participation in nature conservation.

Can tree planting be subsidized for landowners that want to turn their land into woodland?

Yes, if you are a landowner, you may be eligible to receive a subsidy of up to 100% of the tree planting costs for a new woodland creation. However, not all sites qualify and the amount that is subsidised per tree varies depending on the individual grant scheme and the location of the site. Generally, most grant schemes are intended for large tree planting projects (3 hectares and above), but some areas, which are considered high priority due to localised flooding issues, may be able to offer additional funding or grants to smaller sites in order to address this problem. The grant and funding can often be very confusing and may require additional ecological surveys to ensure a site is suitable for afforestation.

We work with various local and national organisations to deliver effective tree planting solutions to suit your needs.

If you’re a landowner that’s looking for some more information on grants and legislation, we’re more than happy to help you. Just go to our Landowner Info Page or Contact Us directly.

What is Forus Tree trying to achieve?

Forustree’s primary goal is to increase woodland cover and biodiversity throughout the UK by planting at least 100,000 trees per year. We aim to do this by spreading awareness amongst residents and landowners in local communities and helping them to plant trees and create wildlife habitats on unutilised land or within existing facilities such as farms, schools, and public spaces.

Currently, the overall woodland cover in the UK is only 13% (10% in England, 15% in Wales,19% in Scotland and 8% in Northern Ireland). If we hope to save our indigenous species of plants and wildlife and take a positive step towards reversing climate change, this must be increased significantly, and we want to do our best to make that happen.

Furthermore, we aim to raise funds to buy some of the land we plant trees on, in order to protect and preserve the newly created woodlands for future generations. By actively protecting the new woodlands we create, we can maximise carbon sequestration, which is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. A recent study by Swiss scientists has shown that planting trees is the most effective way to slow or reverse atmospheric CO2 pollution and thereby mitigate or even reverse climate change (please refer to the Environmental Benefits section for details).

The woodlands we create will be maintained traditionally to increase biodiversity and create additional income and work opportunities for members of the local community. 

Traditional forestry skills and trades are being lost due to modern technology and we want to counter that change by getting more people to work outdoors and together with nature, thereby encouraging them to appreciate and protect what we have. 

What makes Forus Tree different

Tree planting in the UK is generally done using plastic deer tubing and weed killer. We prefer to use a technique called “screefing”, which involves clearing a small area around the tree to give it the best chance of growing by reducing competition for nutrition, water and light. This involves more labour on our part but it’s proven to be effective and reduces our negative impact on site while planting trees. 

 

Although plastic deer tubes are essential protection for the first 15 years of a tree's life, almost all of this plastic eventually ends up in a landfill. Since there is no real alternative available, we’re busy experimenting and developing techniques for a more holistic approach to tree planting that doesn’t require plastic tubing. For example, using deer fencing instead of tubing can benefit a whole variety of species and help kickstart a full transformation by temporarily excluding grazing animals until the woodland is established. Unfortunately, voles can still ring the bark off trees and rabbits can eat them when they are young, so we are currently looking into intermixing alternative food sources to address these issues.

Does Forus Tree make profit?

As a not-for-profit workers cooperative and social enterprise, Forustree does not make profit in the traditional sense. While we do occasionally generate more income than we need to cover our expenses, we do not use these surpluses for personal gain. Any additional earnings are either immediately reinvested into our organisation or put into our General Reserve, in order to be used for future Forustree projects.

Connecting people with nature.

We would like to expand our practice using holistic management and permaculture principles, and to spread our knowledge to the wider community by having the space to provide courses, workshops and volunteering opportunities. 

We are working hard to create a space for the community which would enable us to run regular workshops:

  • Working with Children

Taking children's inquisitive nature to a space where they can learn to care for nature, our natural resources and how to use them sustainably. Help them develop a healthy understanding of our ecosystem, our connection to nature and to establish a healthy habit of spending time outdoors and eating healthy food.

  • Working With Young people

The current economic crisis has hit young people disproportionately hard and widened inequalities, making youth investment key for levelling up. There is a real lack and need for safe spaces for young people. Working with Young people outdoors, and teaching them healthy life skills will contribute to reducing mental health issues, antisocial behaviour, obesity and lack of confidence in our youth community. We want to create a facilitated environment where young people can learn useful skills e.g. food preparation, electronic repairs, basic carpentry, and to organise group and individual projects such as building a skate ramp, a tree house or perhaps organising a fundraising event.

    • Working With Home Ed Families

Home educating is becoming increasingly popular in our community and there are many families who are considering home educating but may not be feeling confident about meeting their child's need to have regular interaction with other children. We would like to be able to provide a space where Home Ed Families can come and spend a morning weekly to help with the garden, and tree nursery, as well as letting them use the outdoor play area and cooking area. The Parents are then able to support each other and the children get to know each other and have some long term regularity.

    • Working With Volunteers

Because of the nature of our work, we will be able to provide regular volunteering opportunities for local residents as well as volunteering weekends with accommodation and food and residency opportunities for international volunteers. We want to engage the community with the work that we do so they can help look after their immediate environment.

Himalayan Balsam control for example, will require a very collaborative approach to dealing with the issues effectively. We have already engaged with residents where we have been working together with Calder Future and the Environment Agency to tackle heavily affected areas to help us by taking part in removing balsam on their land. We plan to expand our volunteering opportunities once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

The UK currently suffers from a shortage of UK grown trees to meet the ambitious targets set by the government. There is also growing evidence that we need community based tree nurseries to meet demand while preventing problems with disease by keeping operations smaller. Community tree nurseries deliver value for money while also providing lots of opportunities for the community to get involved. We encourage the community to take part in growing the forests for our future, from seed collecting days to the day to day care of watering, weeding, transplanting and so forth are all wonderful activities for members of the community to take part in and the results are incredibly rewarding. At the moment we are having to source our trees from further afield, which contributes to our carbon footprint. We would like to grow our own trees so that we have control over their quality and reduce the transportation mileage.

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