Trees for Tomorrow is a small, local not-for-profit tree nursery in Pembrokeshire that aims to contribute to the creation of a new National Forest for Wales by bolstering the supply of local provenance native trees. The Welsh government’s tree planting targets, as well as a wider need for reforestation to remove carbon from the atmosphere, mean that the demand for trees is much greater than the current supply. With this in mind, Trees for Tomorrow’s mission is not only to nurture and grow seedings and supply resilient trees but to promote and educate the local community on the broader benefits of reforestation.
Run by a small group of 5 Directors and headed by Jonathan Tiller, Trees for Tomorrow aim to create strong connections with local care farms, schools, and not-for-profit organisations through offering voluntary activities such as seed gathering and planting – bringing the community together to do something that will have lasting effects for generations to come. Trees for Tomorrow hopes to engage people from all walks of life with positive climate action, offering educational opportunities and enabling those who might not normally connect with climate change to play their part.
Trees for Tomorrow came to Egin with several needs: first, they wanted help to develop a community engagement plan and to develop their ideas around on-site and outreach sessions that might help to draw in the public. They also wanted support to prepare the site for growing, as well as taking in visitors and volunteers, and some more general advice on reducing their carbon footprint.
Trees not only capture carbon – they reduce temperature, reduce flooding, keep soil nutrient-rich and reduce pollution – read more here: How Trees Fight Climate Change (from The Woodland Trust)
Working with their facilitator, Jasmine, Trees for Tomorrow were assigned to Louise Cartwright, a Peer Mentor with a strong background in regenerative gardening practices, permaculture and community development tools, and group dynamics. Louise helped the group to create a detailed community engagement plan which included ideas for establishing a volunteer base, including those from traditionally underrepresented or unsupported demographics, and a potential schedule for community engagement events.
As well as helping the group with ideas about how they might advertise community events and organise their workflow going forward, Louise directly introduced Trees for Tomorrow to other organisations for potential collaboration and gave them a list of individuals, groups or schools that they might find useful to contact.
In late July, Trees for Tomorrow director Jonathan Tiller met with Jim Bowen of Clynfyw Care Farm as part of their explorative community engagement programme to investigate the potential for their businesses to work together – they discussed the potential to create volunteering opportunities, increase production capacity and tackle climate change. They also recorded an impromptu interview for Jim’s radio station The Climate Resilience Show on Cardigan Internet Radio!
“The support we have received through Egin has been amazing,” says Jonathan, director of Trees for Tomorrow, “empowering and facilitating community-based climate action is at the core of our business and the support has spring boarded us into a position where we can begin to engage with other local groups, organisations and social businesses to explore how Trees For Tomorrow can position itself to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the community. We feel more equipped to monitor and evaluate our impact effectively and efficiently through the use of the Egin ‘Proving and Improving toolkit’. A huge thanks to the Egin team for all their help and support so far!”
More recently, Trees for Tomorrow were thrilled to be granted the first Sustainable Steps Wales – Egin grant from The National Lottery Community Fund – grants of up to £15,000 that groups who have been through the Egin Peer Mentoring programme can apply for to help with their project costs.
They aim to use the grant to start on the installation of critical infrastructure such as hard standing to allow year-round access to the site for volunteers and staff, shade halls to protect crops during hot weather, specialist propagation equipment to increase germination rates and trolleys to significantly reduce manual handling around the nursery.
“It’s a really exciting time and we are all looking forward to helping make as big a difference as we can in tackling climate change. This investment will allow us to facilitate, inspire and empower climate action across our communities and empower more people to get involved in all of the activities to help plant more trees for tomorrow!” said Jonathan.