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Three new “Wee Forests” in Edinburgh will help to combat climate change, encourage urban wildlife, and reconnect people with nature.

Three new “Wee Forests” in Edinburgh will help to combat climate change, encourage urban wildlife, and reconnect people with nature.

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Each of the “Wee Forests” at East Pilton Park, West Pilton Park, and Mount Vernon are composed of 600 native trees packed in an area about the size of a tennis court.

They will be attractive places not only for wildlife but also for people and offer a variety of benefits in the fight against global warming.

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The Earthwatch Team at Mount Vernon Tree Planting

A core group of volunteers, called Tree Keepers, is recruited in each area to act as ambassadors for the local forest.

Wee Forests are capable to attract over 500 animal or plant species within three year.

Culture and communities convener Donald Wilson said the Wee Forests would help Edinburgh towards its goal of being a Million Tree City by 2030 and contribute to the “Queen’s Green Canopy” which invites people to plant trees in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Cllr Wilson stated that “These new Wee Forests will enable residents to directly participate in tackling climate and nature crises by being involved with the planting, maintenance, and development of forests in their own communities.”

“Volunteering as a Tree Keeper is a great chance to get more involved in your Wee Forest’s development and track the amazing environmental impact of the site and I would encourage everyone to find out more by contacting Earthwatch.

Amy McNeese -Mechan, vice convener, said: “Our green areas are a hugely valuable part of our city. A Wee Forest brings the benefits of a forest – connecting people with nature, raising awareness of the environment, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and supporting urban wildlife – right in the heart of our community within urban spaces in the city. I’m delighted that more Wee Forests are planned and encourage our communities to get involved.”

The council has worked with Earthwatch Europe, NatureScot and Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust to kickstart planting of the Wee Forests.

These three were made possible by the BlackRock Charitable Trust; OVO Foundation (the charity arm of OVO Energy); and the Scottish Government.

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Louise Hartley, senior programme manager, said that “Wee Forests offer rich opportunities for young people to connect with the environment and sustainability.” It’s vital that we give people the knowledge and skills to protect our natural world and inspire them to take positive action from a young age.”

And NatureScot Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “The Covid 19 pandemic has shown us just how important it is for people’s health and well-being to have opportunities to connect with nature close to where they live. These Wee Forests are not only a great way to make space for nature in our towns and cities, but they’ll also help communities become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, which is particularly important as we look ahead to COP26 and the huge challenges and opportunities facing us.”

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