Vaillant has unveiled the location of its first Tiny Forest (known as Wee Forests in Scotland), in Glasgow Green alongside the river Clyde in the centre of Glasgow. It marks the official start of its partnership with the Tiny Forest programme, led by environmental charity, Earthwatch Europe, and in partnership with Glasgow City Council.
Vaillant’s inaugural Wee Forest can be found in the Winter Gardens in the Glasgow Green area of the city. Wee and Tiny Forests are new, nature-rich woodland spaces the size of a tennis court. They are specifically designed with local native plant and tree species that attract wildlife and help in the fight against climate change by processing rainfall and capturing carbon. They provide valuable spaces where local people can enjoy access to nature that is missing in many urban environments.
Due to its central location, Vaillant’s first Wee Forest also forms part of Glasgow City Council’s COP26 Sustainable Glasgow Storymap, showcasing sustainable projects across the city.
Approximately 570 trees and shrubs have been planted on the site, featuring 21 different species. Each species has been selected to create a fast-growing, native woodland, with the eventual space comprising of the four forest layers: shrub, understory, subcanopy and canopy. The cell-grown saplings have all been locally sourced from Alba Trees in East Lothian, meaning they are hardy enough to thrive in even the harshest Scottish winters, and include alders, oaks, and pines to form the uppermost level through to hawthorn, hazel, and rowans in the lower shrubbed areas. This tree-planting methodology encourages rapid growth and minimises maintenance so that the forest can be quickly established and easily looked after by a team of local volunteers.
To ensure the planting session was a complete success, the Vaillant team was joined by volunteers of all ages from across the region to position each plant following a carefully designed layout that will ensure that it will quickly become established.
Going forward, the Wee Forest will continue to provide much needed city-centre green space for educational and well-being activities. It will also provide a location for schools and local communities to assess the scientific impact of having biodiverse areas, like this one, incorporated into an urban landscape. The Wee Forest will also contribute towards Vaillant’s Corporate Social Responsibility and the local council’s carbon footprint reduction.
Steve Cipriano, Commercial Director at Vaillant, said: “Having access to green spaces is often limited in urban areas and we are delighted that we have been able to be part of making a tangible change that will benefit both those who live in the city as well as having an impact on the surrounding environment.
“What is great to see here is that many aspects of well-being and sustainability have been combined to create this area of natural woodland. From the trees being sourced locally, to residents from the surrounding area being invited to help plant and maintain the Wee Forest going forward. Add to this scientific monitoring and community engagement, and it very much shows the importance of this kind of space to building knowledge and appreciation of nature now and for future generations, especially where access would otherwise be limited.
“This is just the start of our partnership with Tiny Forest, and we look forward to working with many other local authority and social housing customers to help establish similar transformative areas in locations across the UK in coming years.”
Louise Hartley, Tiny Forest Senior Programme Manager at Earthwatch, said: “Green spaces don’t have to be vast to make a big difference. As soon as planting gets underway at a site, it really brings to life the overall aim of our Tiny Forest programme. It is always amazing to see people enjoying the chance to connect with nature and give them the opportunity to feel they are making a difference to the future of the city in which they live.
“It also reminds us of nature’s importance to our own well-being, as well as the environment through our ongoing work with schools and community groups, we hope this will be instilled from a young age to establish strong connection to the world around us and the impact we have upon it.”