Members of UHC synagogue came together to plant the first saplings of the UHC Forest.
A Sunday morning in early December saw a hardy group of members of the UHC synagogue in Leeds – led by Rabbi Alby Chait – brace the elements to plant the first saplings of the UHC Forest all of which had been donated in response to this year’s appeal to mark Tu Bishvat.
The team of volunteers rendezvoused at a layby off the A59 before walking with spades in hand to the site of the forest. There, under the expert guidance of conservationists and environmentalist, Helen and Chris Neave, owners of Make It Wild, together with their woodland manager Mike Bird, they planted 250 trees from three varieties of birch hazel and guelder rose. When established they will line a path running east down to a natural amphitheatre on the edge of the river Nidd. Later a selection of natural large native deciduous trees will be added which will encourage biodiversity and successful woodland creation
As Rabbi Alby aided by Naomi Williams UHC community development officer, planted guelder rose sapling he recounted the story of Choni in the Talmud, who when asked why he was planting a tree he wouldn’t see the benefit of in his lifetime, he replied: “As someone planted for me, so I shall plant for my children.”
Despite at times driving rain, planting continued and the group was later joined by Guest of Honour Maxwell Morrison. While Tu Bishvat is in the winter months of January and February, late autumn and early December are the optimum time for planting trees. Each sapling is supported by a staked and protected by an especially designed plastic tube.