More than 200 people attended a special launch evening at the Market Hall in Devonport for SocieTree, an exciting new social enterprise which has pledged to plant 96 unique ‘microforests’ at schools throughout Plymouth and surrounding areas.
The event on Thursday 5th October gave people, businesses and organisations the opportunity to find out more about this brand new Community Interest Company and how they can take part and donate to these microforests.
SocieTree’s Board of Directors is made up of Steve Warren-Brown, founder and Managing Director of locally-based YGS Landscapes, together with Adam King, Steve Evans and Nick Sprague.
The team’s long-term ambition to build a greener, more sustainable future in as many different communities, starting with the planting of the 96 microforests.
YGS Landscapes is one of the headline partners for this year’s Devon Business Show, which takes place at Plymouth Pavilions on Wednesday 11 October.
Steve Warren-Brown joined us for our Devon Business Show podcast special, produced by Fresh Air Studios in partnership with Westcotts, to tell us all about the return of the pop-up forest for 2023. Listen here.
While SocieTree expects most of its funding to come from company sponsorship, anybody interested in supporting its plans is welcome. The team is inviting companies and organisations to join its mission by sponsoring a school or education provider and funding the creation of a microforest – investing their corporate social responsibility budgets in a sustainable way with environmental and educational benefits.
Microforests are literally small, dense forests that are a mixture of trees and plants that produce remarkable biodiversity for their size.
SocieTree’s aim is to create a lasting legacy that not only inspires the next generation by planting microforests, which have incredible environmental benefits, but also by supplying free books to every child who takes part.
As part of the package, the children receive two years of free books, based on the work of microforest pioneer Dr Akira Miyawaki. The book series, entitled My Wacky Forest, is centred around the main character Mushi, who is a Fun-guy!
SocieTree has named the initiative Project 96 – and is inspired by the late Queen who died aged 96, carrying on her vision of a ‘Green Canopy’.
Two microforests have already been planted as part of a pilot scheme at Mount Wise Primary School and the YMCA Discovery College in Honicknowle, linked to Manadon Vale Primary School.
Co-Founder Steve Warren-Brown said: “Through our pilot projects, we have already planted hundreds of trees and given away hundreds of books and the effects it’s had on the children has been overwhelming.
“The smiles prove that kids love nature, and to know that these micro-forests will continue to do educational, social and environmental good as they grow is a wonderful feeling. The planting days are fantastic and reinforce the need to get this done. Every school should have its own ‘My Wacky Forest!
“The environmental effects of microforests are well-documented. Evidence shows they are incredibly efficient at sequestering carbon, they are significantly more diverse and they can grow up to 10 times more quickly, meaning you can have real generational impacts. Add to this the potential to reduce air temperature and to remove pollutants and you really do have a ‘Superlung’.
“It is not just the environmental benefits that interest us. The children get free books, which are educational and FUN, and we have all read about the benefits of being outdoors and its impact on wellbeing. These projects impact on a multi-layered level and really do have huge potential which we are of course looking at recording and continuing to develop”
“Whilst our initial aim is to plant the 96 schools as part of Project 96, we would love to think that this may inspire others to get involved..why not aim to plant one in or on behalf of every school in England?”