Tiny Forest United Kingdom

Profile: Maria Pontes
Organization: Earthwatch United Kingdom
Email address: mpontes@earthwatch.org.uk

What was your personal motivation to plant your first forest?
Maria: I had a very memorable and privileged childhood with much time spent in the forest playing with my cousins. I lived in a small town surrounded by forests so access was easy. ‘Getting forests to people’ is my personal motivation and the concept of tiny forests makes that so much more possible. Being able to plant a forest that people can easily enjoy so close to where they are and spend most of their time is truly rewarding. Doing that in a way that brings a range of environmental benefits so quickly to the area is fantastic.

Can you describe the surroundings of your first forest, what type of place did you convert?
Maria: It is in a green area that includes a small playground and a football field, but it floods and residents do not use the space very much. It is also next to a very busy road.

What were the biggest obstacles in planting this forest?
Maria: I would not call it an obstacle but certainly the lengthier piece of the puzzle was securing the land and following the necessary process to ensure the Council’s commitment.

Who did you cooperate with? How did the local community respond to the forest?
Maria: We had great participation from the community, close to 100 people came to wonder, learn and participate, of all ages. It became a neighbourly day with some bringing pizza and coffee to share. There is a tight group now keeping an eye and taking care of the forest.

What did you learn from your first forest?
Maria: How inspiring it is for people to do something so simple yet so magical as planting trees. I remember how peaceful it felt, like the world had stopped for a moment, when we were all mulching at the end of the day.

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