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What’s Your Story – #PlantTrees

What’s the big tree planting project in Nepal?

ChoraChori, our partner organisation for the SIGBI Federation project Empowering Girls in Nepal, have recently confirmed the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding, between The Gemma and Chris McGough Charitable Foundation CIO and Nepalese NGO the Mithila Wildlife Trust (MWT) for a new major environmental project for Nepal. Over the next two and a half years they will work alongside the Divisional Forest Office (DFO) in restoring 32 hectares (0.32 square kilometres) of forest, clearing scrub and planting almost 17,000 saplings.

The total project budget is £191,732 with just over two thirds of that provided by The McGough Charitable Foundation and most of the remainder will be from the DFO, including the provision of all the saplings for free, as part of the Nepal government’s commitment to reforestation. 

This is one of many ChoraChori projects within Nepal to support local communities and completely separate from the partnership they have with SIGBI.  None of the money we are raising for Empowering Girls in Nepal will be directed to this project. 

So why are ChoraChori doing this?  Apart from having a really positive environmental impact in terms of reforestation, bio diversity and flood prevention the project will support ChoraChori’s relief work by providing immediate much needed employment for day labourers who have been rendered jobless because of COVID, and are otherwise unable to provide for their families. Philip Holmes also hopes that in the longer term the reforestation will provide the local community with a sustainable forestry resource to draw upon. He hopes the area, partly with their support, will become a centre of expertise and create training and employment through the generation of eco products and services.

SI Madurai plant a ‘Tiny Forest’ in a school backyard

SI Madurai are very committed to making our environment greener and cleaner by planting trees.  Two years ago, working with local school children and the community, the club set out to plant a ‘tiny forest’ using the Miyawaki method, a technique pioneered by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, that helps build dense, native forests. The approach aims to ensure that plant growth is 10 times faster, the resulting plantation is 30 times denser than usual and requires less water to maintain its health. In India tree plantation programs are held just before the onset of the monsoons so that the saplings can get plenty of water to grow. The members of the club took great care to choose the right kinds of trees to plant using native species that suited the local conditions, maximizing ecological resilience for their native environment, and giving the best potential to enhance biodiversity. The trees they selected included Indian Mahogany, Ashoka, Banyan, ​Gulmohar, Curry and ​Peepal Trees. The work started by digging a pit along the school backyard, 10ft wide and 2.5ft deep and filling it with leaf litter and a starter enzyme.  This enzyme helps the leaves to decay quickly providing good nutrients for the young plants, and topsoil was added a few weeks later. The work was a real community event, involving club members, many members of the community, school staff, children and some parents. Saplings were planted close together and haphazardly, not in rows, ensuring the different species were well mixed.  160 trees were planted in total.  The resulting ‘tiny forest’, as you can see, is truly spectacular, creating a wonderful environment for the school children and staff, and a haven for wildlife.

This project won the best practice Award and having learnt a lot through their first project, and fuelled with enthusiasm, SI Madurai have recently planted a second ‘tiny forest’ at a centre for mentally ill patients, and their forest for the Centennial Celebrations will be in full bloom in 2021. They intend to continue planting trees, one for every club in the Federation and are busy encouraging other clubs to get involved!

Download PDF – Miyawaki Method of Growing Forest in your Backyard

SI Croydon & District Peace Garden plans for #PlantTrees

Members have taken care of a small plot within a community section of the traditional Walled Garden in Park Hill Park in Croydon over the last 2 years.

The photo is our club’s plot inside the walled garden – it’s about 12′ x 6′.  The lovely wooden block of a dynamic S was made for the garden by our youngest member Emma. We’ve planted various lovely plants over the last 2 years including some of the Soroptimist tulips. In the background, past the lush grass, you can just see the wall.

Our club has been offered space along the wall to plant a tree and place a plaque in recognition of the SIGBI centenary celebrations. The suggestion to our club members of a fruit tree was well received and it was decided that a damson tree would fit well within the garden as this was a popular fruit in Victorian times, when the garden itself was created.

We are hoping to be able to plant more than one fruit tree, but that will depend on how many other local groups take up the offer, and hopefully 2 or 3 trees in the park itself. Watch this space and we will keep you informed on our progress. 

SI Dewsbury & District #PlantTrees

Last summer we received an email encouraging us to get involved with the Woodland Trust’s free tree offer. We needed a grid reference and finally we were put in touch with Pete Banks, park ranger at Dewsbury Country park.

The area used to be a landfill site and is being transformed into the largest new woodland created in West Yorkshire. Pete got the grid reference and we ordered 400 trees for delivery in November 2019. The pack consisted of Rowan, Silver Birch, Wild Cherry, Common Oak, Field Maple and Grey Willow.

We needed volunteers and the Ansaar Beaver, Cub and Scout group from Heckmondwike came to help as did Soroptimists from SI Dewsbury and SI Wakefield with a few Soroptimisters , also helping was Karen from the Ravensthorpe Resident’s Action Group. The trees arrived and then came the big day. We had good weather and Pete started by explaining the value of planting trees and the effect they have on the environment and climate change. We planted over 800 trees. We had 100 delivered in March 2020 but these have had to wait until they can be planted. It was a fun day with lots of hard work and laughter.

SI Malta Plant an Olive Grove

In September 2018, Soroptimist International Malta organised a 3-day Conference with international guests on the occasion of their 25th Anniversary. During Conference, Soroptimist International Malta planted a commemorative tree in the public garden of the Presidential Palace San Anton and 25 olive trees.
 
The 25th Anniversary Project of Soroptimist International Malta consisted of creating an Olive Grove in the grounds of the women shelter Dar Merhba Bik. This project is sustainable in several ways: It involved clearing and regenerating an overgrown field, rebuilding a wall to protect the land from erosion and repairing a well to provide a natural source of water. The residents will eventually harvest the olives, use them in their cooking and sell any surplus to provide much needed funds for the shelter. 
 
Thanks to the support of the Directorate for Parks, Afforestation and Countryside Restoration, P.A.R.K.S., everything was ready on inauguration day, Saturday morning of the Conference. 
The olive grove was inaugurated by Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta, who also helped SI Malta President Dot Hunter plant the first tree before invited international delegates and various local sponsors planted the additional 24 trees to mark our Club’s 25th Anniversary.
Still in continuation of the 25th Anniversary project, SI Malta is in the process of completing a picnic area with orchard and scented plants that will provide a retreat in nature to help overcome the trauma experienced by the residents.
 
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