On a cold and blustery March day in Hampshire 70 beautiful birch trees were handpicked for Thames Valley Park.  Seven species which originate from around the globe were chosen to symbolise the Commonwealth and seven decades of reign. With dozens now starting to put their roots down, our volunteers are scheduled to finish planting this week, joining more than three million trees already planted through the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.

World Environment Day is an important moment to reflect on our attitude to the environment we steward. We have a dual focus. First, is our quest to promote a greener and more sustainable environment. It’s why we’ve been taking crucial steps towards enhancing the ecological benefit of the Park. Surrounded by the River Thames, our seasonal programme of wilding, habitat management and species enrichment now underpins how the Park’s 24 acres of meadows, riverside walks and wetlands are managed. 

Our focus is also to find a myriad of ways to encourage the people who work here to spend more time in nature. We know it helps boost both mental and physical health, reducing stress and improving the quality of work. Besides regular activities such as cold water bathing, forest bathing, Qigong and yoga, we also know from our amazing volunteers that simply connecting with the earth can feel great.

With the built spaces firmly in our sights, we’re currently cultivating and grading the roundabouts on the traffic spine which runs through the built part of the Park, to make way for an incredible transformation.  A maze of utilities runs beneath the road system and has meant taking great care with tree locations and ground works.

By introducing the new birch trees underplanted with wildflower meadow grass, we will increase biodiversity and create a haven for local wildlife.  Not to mention showcasing the power of wilding in an urban context.  We can’t wait to witness the incredible visual and environmental transformation that awaits us all.