Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Tree Planting at the Childrens' Centre Farm
Though they've had two or three open days in the two years, the Childrens' Centre Community Farm is still something that a lot of people don't yet know about. Located just outside Douglas, it's set on Walberry Small Holding and is home to animals such as chickens, sheep, and guinea pigs, as well as polytunnels, a sensory garden, a woodworking workshop, and other indoor and creative facilities. It's purpose is to help disabled, troubled, and emotionally vulnerable children across the island and to reconnect them to farming and nature.
One of the newer and larger projects on-site is the development of a five acre parcel of land into a type of Permaculture Playground. One day the land may have hedges with tunnels for fort building, teepees of willow and sweet peas, wooden bridges over the existing 'moat', and a flowering hedge to pick fruits from. The idea is to grow an environment where young people can learn people skills and reconnect with nature in a fun and creative way. Though still in its infancy, the project will one day be both a wonderful place for children to get away from it all and a tribute to communal effort and natural, sustainable living. It will be interesting to see how it develops and I'm sure I'll be back to lend a hand.
One of the first projects on the site is the construction of the flowering hedge. It's initial function will be to help break the wind coming over the hill but it will also provide shelter and food for animals and birds. Steve Prescott of Native Oak, a local nursery specialising in Manx trees, arrived over the weekend with over two hundred young trees that included Elder, Hawthorne, Wild Roses, and Hazel. About twenty volunteers including the Hubster and myself arrived on Sunday morning to help plant them along a pre-marked site. It was good exercise and amazing how quickly the job went with so many people helping. After the trees were planted, collars went around the saplings and were attached to stakes in the ground. Hopefully they'll all take and I wonder how the hedge will look this time next year...and in five or ten years' time.
For those interested in helping lend a hand with planting trees or other projects at the Community Farm please contact Amanda Griffin or Chrissy Cannell. Another opportunity for planting trees is available through the Isle of Man Woodland Trust who I'll be joining today and tomorrow for an event at the Strand Shopping Centre in Douglas. They're promoting their 'Plant a Manx Tree in twentyone three' campaign and will be on hand to answer questions about their vision and upcoming projects. There will be stalls all week in the centre so drop in by to have a chat.