Bark life! ‘Foresters’ nurture estate trees

'It’s a really good example of youth enterprise and improving biodiversity'

Tuesday, 19th April — By Hayleigh Evans

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GREEN-fingered teenagers have been recruited as “Camden foresters” to care for trees planted around the borough as part of a new community project.

Think & Do, a community space for climate action, launched a pilot planting project, Communi-trees.

The organisation hosted its first event earlier this month, planting 19 trees around Peckwater estate in Kentish Town and Goldington estate in Somers Town.

The Camden foresters will be paid to water the trees regularly, an opportunity to gain employment and new skills.

Debbie Bourne, Think & Do activator, said: “The beauty of this project is that the trees are going to be maintained and looked after by teenage residents. Apart from increasing tree cover, we’re hoping to engage with young people more and get them jobs.”

Communi-trees is part of Camden Forest, a larger effort to plant 2025 trees around the borough by the year 2025.

Think & Do organisers consulted with residents to choose which types of trees would be planted around their estates. Ms Bourne described the project as “a genuine co-design with the residents”.

She added: “We’re addressing the ecological crisis, and part of that process is keeping things local. We’re preventing people from driving far into town to take care of these trees.”

Musa Habiburrahman, 18, is one of the Camden foresters for the project and attended the event.

He said: “It was quite enjoyable actually and a great way to give back to society. I volunteered to gain teamwork experience and work alongside the organisation for my CV.

“I’m in charge of watering and taking care of the trees for the next six months until they can take care of themselves.

“It’s a great thing to do across Camden, especially since you’re paying residents instead of contractors.”

Koko, the concert venue in Camden Town, paid for the trees and has funded their maintenance.

Ms Bourne said Think & Do plans to host more planting events with other tenants’ and residents’ associations in the autumn and hopes to collaborate with more local businesses.

Ms Bourne added: “The idea is to plant more mature trees across the borough. It’s a really good example of youth enterprise and improving biodiversity.”

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