First trees planted in Stein (Limburg)
VolkerWessels is going to install Tiny Forests at various locations in the Netherlands: pieces of densely grown, indigenous forest the size of a tennis court. To this end, a sponsorship agreement has been concluded with IVN Natuureducatie and we are working together with Earthwatch Europe. The first forest was planted today at the Bonjour! children's centre in Stein, Limburg; at least seven more locations will follow in the coming months. This makes VolkerWessels currently the largest investor in Tiny Forests in the Netherlands.
A Tiny Forest® is not only a pleasant place for butterflies, birds, bees and small mammals, but also for people. Children learn about Dutch nature in the outdoor classroom and local residents meet in a pleasant and healthy place. The concept of Tiny Forest was devised by Indian engineer Shubhendu Sharma (who in turn was inspired by the forestry method of Japanese tree expert Miyawaki) and has been successfully used in the Netherlands by IVN Natuureducatie since 2015.
Daan Bleichrodt, Chief Tree Planting Officer, IVN Natuureducatie: "Due to urbanisation, digitalisation and our busy existence, the gap between people and nature is bigger than ever. A Tiny Forest in the neighbourhood reduces that gap and also brings local residents closer together. In addition, a Tiny Forest stimulates biodiversity, provides additional water storage capacity, improves air quality and combats heat stress. Together with municipalities, schools and local residents, we have already realised 167 of these mini forests in the Netherlands. We are very proud that VolkerWessels is going to help us add even more nature to residential areas in the Netherlands in the near future."
Victor Beumer, Senior Research Lead at Earthwatch Europe: "That we as humans need nature is clear, but how do we ensure that everyone understands and experiences the impact and effects of nature in the built environment? To demonstrate the power of Tiny Forest, we will use 'citizen science' (citizen research) to work with local residents and children to measure how the Tiny Forest in their neighbourhood benefits local biodiversity, cooling, CO2 absorption and more."
Alfred Vos, CEO VolkerWessels: "As one of the largest builders in the Netherlands, there is almost no province, municipality, city or village where VolkerWessels does not play a role in shaping the living environment. We see places all over the Netherlands where extra nature can mean a lot for climate adaptation, the well-being of residents and especially for our children. Tiny Forest is a wonderful initiative that fits very well with our own concrete climate ambition and social goals. We are sure that together with IVN and Earthwatch Europe we can add many more Tiny Forests projects to our beautiful Netherlands in the coming years."
First trees planted in Stein
Today, children from child centre Bonjour!, IKC de triviant and the language school of KC Sittard in Stein symbolically planted the first trees of the new Tiny Forest in their schoolyard. All preparatory work such as soil investigation, soil displacement and the placement of seating elements had previously been carried out by VolkerWessels company Gebr. Van Kessel. Together with Farwick Groenspecialisten, they will soon also make preparations for the next seven Tiny Forests.