Extra trees for Birmingham communities as EcoPark works with Water Plus to educate on environment

School children and communities will get a green canopy boost in Birmingham, after water retailer Water Plus teamed up with Birmingham and the Black Country Wildlife Trust’s EcoPark education centre

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Around 30 new tree saplings are being provided to EcoPark, to help increase and support biodiversity – and educate pupils and adults about the environment, in a built-up area of Birmingham.

EcoPark is an environmental education centre in the Small Heath area of Birmingham, which is operated by Birmingham and the Black Country Wildlife Trust – and welcomes thousands of people to its site each year, including regular visits from six schools.

Francesca Jarvis-Rouse, Senior Conservation Officer at Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, said: “The extra trees provided by Water Plus will help us to increase biodiversity on site as well as educate local people about the importance of their local environment. Trees are ecosystem engineers and provide lots of benefits, including shade and helping cool the air. Our work here at EcoPark provides thousands of young people from the local community with the opportunity to learn about and connect with nature – from our Nature Tots pre-school groups and school holiday activities, to Health and Wellbeing in Nature courses. Thank you to Water Plus for providing us with these saplings.”

Water Plus, which has its main office in Staffordshire, in the Midlands, works with organisations, including the public sector, providing water retail services covering billing, customer service and technical water efficiency services, is increasing tree-planting across England and Scotland as part of its commitment to the environment.

The 30 trees are part of 500 extra UK trees that have started to be planted by Water Plus, under its Cleaner Climate Promise, by teaming up with organisations and sites in England and Scotland this year.

As part of the joint work, the Wildlife Trust and Water Plus, which is the largest water retailer in the UK and a Green Apple Environment Award winner, are also highlighting water-saving tips.

Barry McGovaney, Sustainability Lead and Innovation and Technology Manager at Water Plus, said: “It’s great the tree-planting with Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust will help educate more people around steps we can all take to reduce impacts on the environment. We’re boosting UK tree-planting, as an investment in the future, not only increasing carbon sequestration in years to come, but also improving air quality and natural habitats for wildlife.

Our Cleaner Climate Promise sees us increasing our focus to reduce emissions and cut carbon impacts we can all have each year – from now to the end of 2025 – supporting the UK’s mission to Net Zero and beyond, alongside the wider water industry Net Zero by 2030 commitment. The 500 extra trees in the UK are just one part of doing more for the planet from this year onwards.”

Water Plus won an international Green Apple Environment Award in November 2021 for its work with organisations to cut water waste and raise awareness around using water more effectively, to boost efficiency and reduce utility costs.

Under the company’s Cleaner Climate Promise, Water Plus is also recognising, each year, organisations looking to reduce their impact on the environment and the amount of carbon released and created.

Water Plus has been increasing green coverage in the UK since 2020 and supported the restoration of peatland in the last year, preventing 400 tonnes of carbon being released**, helping towards the UK’s Net Zero target. Its main office is located in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, with a base also in Glasgow.

Suggestions for tree-planting locations in England and Scotland can be made by emailing Water Plus: [email protected] , with the subject heading #Nominatefortrees . Emails should include brief details on the benefit trees would bring to the area recommended and contacts for the location or site. All suggestions will be reviewed.

More about EcoPark, and how groups can book a visit, at: www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/ecopark-plan-visit .