A group of 14 cyclists enjoyed the clearest and brightest of spring days for the latest Fund 4 Trees Ride for Research on 30th April 2013. The event was meticulously planned by ride leader, Russell Ball and we enjoyed a circular route from the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. The itinerary covered a cycle route of about 25 miles along the River Kelvin, Forth & Clyde Canal, Pollock Country Park and Kelvingrove Park and included taking in site along Glasgow’s Clyde Bank.
Cyclists included Fund 4 Trees trustees Mick Boddy, Martin Gammie, Russell Ball; Arboricultural Association Scottish Branch Chair, Paul Hanson; ICF Deputy Director, Russell Horsey; Arboricultural Association Trustee, Pete Wharton; amongst others from both AA and ICF. The event was timed to coincide with ICF’s National Conference, held in Glasgow on 1st & 2nd May.
En route, the riders visited three schools and planted a tree at each one. At the first school, St Paul’s Primary, we were welcomed with applause from the whole school. Glasgow’s Lord Provost joined us there to help plant the tree and the whole school entertained us by singing a song before we departed.
On the way to the second school, we headed for the Clyde side docks area to take in views of the Tall Ship, Glenlee, a tea clipper. Passing iconic modern buildings including the Riverside Centre and the ‘Armadillo’ (Clyde Auditorium). We headed to the second of the three schools, where a plum was planted. This was the Bellahouston Academy where the students seemed glad for the opportunity to enjoy some outdoor time in the spring sunshine. The school later invited Russell Ball back to talk to their 16 – 18 year old students about career opportunities in arboriculture!! Before departing, the team enjoyed lunch on the school field, which was provided by Russell Horsey, in advance of our departure for the final school.
Being ahead of time, we managed to stop off in a Country Park to visit the venerable Pollock Beech; a huge ancient stubby specimen of great character set atop a mound. The path to the tree meandered around some interesting specimen trees and rhododendrons in full flower.
For our third planting, we were once again welcomed by applause from the whole of St Alberts Primary School. A birch was planted whilst Russell gave his now familiar talk about the benefits that trees provide. The pupils shared their beautiful drawings of trees, many with exotic fruit and smiling birds in nests, with us. It was interesting but rather humbling to learn later from their headteacher, that many of the pupils at the school have very limited opportunity to play outdoors and that the school has an active gardening club, which aims to promote the enjoyment of being outdoors, learning to grow and care for plants or even just experience what it’s like to feel grass beneath your feet!! The children’s enthusiasm made it clear that the opportunity for them to be outdoors was a positive experience for them.
We then headed back for the Botanic Gardens through Kelvingrove Park for the final planting of the day. We were met there by the Botanic Gardens’ Curator to plant a Swamp oak (Quercus bicolor) and ICF’s Emma Thompson who welcomed us with bananas & chocolate biscuits to revive us after the final stretch, which included the steepest hill that we had tackled all day!!
And so…. Another Ride for Research ended with a quick debrief at the pub, located in a former church. There were strong affirmations that we’d all like to do it again and hopefully would meet next time on 23rd October at Kew Gardens.
This was a great day, with unbeatable spring weather, a brilliant route, which was scenic and achievable for all levels of fitness. There was good company and enthusiastic children, three more trees in Glasgow’s schools and a new one at the Botanic Gardens as well.
Many thanks to the event sponsors; Capita Symonds, City Suburban Tree Surgeons, Barcham Trees for the supply of the trees and to Russell Horsey for our lunches.
Lesley Adams and Mick Boddy
To the riders: Lesley Adams; Mick Boddy; Mike Charkow; Matthew Cooper; Sharon Crawford; Martin Gammie; Paul Hanson; Russell Horsey; Sammi Jones; Alan Motion; Will Ritchie; Rob Sim and Pete Wharton. We raised over £1,500. Enough for three Fund4Trees (F4T) student bursaries or a substantial contribution towards a F4T £5,000 award for research project.
To our sponsors, Capita Symonds and City Suburban Tree Surgeons and of course the continued support of Barchams for their trees. In terms of the ride logistics, thanks also to Graeme Golding (Glasgow City Council Tree Officer), Stephen Herrington (Curator at Glasgow Botanic Gardens), Will Ritchie (Assistant Curator at Glasgow Botanic Gardens), Louise Henderson (PA to the Lord Provost), Dr Collin Little (Glasgow City Council Sustainability Officer), Allan Maclean (Glasgow City Council Cycling Officer) and Mark Irwin (Glasgow City Council Education Officer) who helped to make the ride possible. Last and by no means least thanks to Emma Thomson ICF Marketing Officer for her support.