DOZENS of volunteers braved the cold and mud to help plant hundreds of trees at a new community woodland in Oldham on Saturday.
Armed with spades, gloves and much-needed wellies, the volunteers helped to transform the former landfill site at Snipe Clough, Glodwick, into a woodland which will boost biodiversity and provide a home for wildlife.
Since November, City of Trees, an organisation seeking to reinvigorate Greater Manchester’s landscape by restoring underused, unloved woodland, has transformed two hectares of land into new woodland at the site, with thousands of trees planted with help from residents and community groups.
Kevin Wigley, of City of Trees, said: “The turnout was fantastic and we’d like to thank all the volunteers from the community who have taken part.
“It would not have been possible to have planted so many trees without the support of volunteers.”
Saturday’s tree-planting event formed part of the International Day of Forests which is today – a day organised by the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
Joining in with the tree-planting were volunteers from Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) with members travelling from across the North West for the event.
Spokesman Ammar Ahmad said: “Our aim has been to help plant 1,000 trees at the site today and we’ve had volunteers coming from around Manchester, Preston and Liverpool to be part of the event.
“Volunteering to help improve our community is a vital part of our faith and we regularly take part in events such as tree-planting and street-cleaning whenever we can.”
Member Qammar Sethr (19) said he enjoyed the experience, but quickly realised he had chosen the wrong footwear for the job.
“I shouldn’t have worn trainers,” he said, as he joined others struggling to negotiate the muddy and wet conditions. “But it’s all part of the fun to get your hands dirty and plant trees.
“Once it has been finished it will have a positive impact on the community in Greater Manchester.”
Fellow volunteer Mian Malik (36) kept a smile on his face during the session. He said: “As a member of the group I’ve done tree planting volunteering before, so I’m comfortable in these conditions.”
Also joining in the efforts were biology students from the University of Manchester as part of the community aspect for their course.
Beth Cracknell (19) said: “This is possibly the earliest we’ve been up on a Saturday since we started at university but it should be fun, even in this weather.”
Claudia Dyer, also 19, added: “It’s the first time we’ve done something like this before. It will help for our course as it relates to biodiversity issues.