Roots for the Future
Roots for the Future

News blog

It's our Birthday!

March 31st 2017


Roots for the Future is celebrating its first birthday on April 22 by holding a tree planting party for the local community with corporate partner, Honey Brothers. You are invited to come celebrate by joining Roots for the Future and Honey Brothers for an afternoon of outdoor children’s games and refreshments, followed by planting some trees.


The cost per child is £5 to attend, subsidised by a Postcode Lottery Trust award and sponsorship from Honey Brothers. Our outdoor learning leader will be highlighting through exploration and games how trees and plants are the fundamental basis of all life. RSVP here.



Honey Brothers has been providing tree surgery, forestry and landscaping industries with products for over 60 years. Celebrating 10 years of new management this year, they continue to provide goods to commercial and domestic clients, and support the local area through social projects and employment schemes. 


Roots for the Future held its first ever tree planting event on April 22 2016 to tie in with Earth Day and the launch of the Canopy Project, a worldwide network that strengthens communities through tree planting. This years’ Earth Day promotes environmental and climate literacy and so Roots for the Future’s outdoor learning leader will be highlighting through exploration and games how trees and plants are the fundamental basis of all life. 



We planted 20 fruit trees

February 24th 2017


On Saturday 18th February, Roots for the Future worked with the Northbourne Action Group to plant 20 fruits trees on the Northbourne estate. Funded by Godalming Town Council and supported by Southern Housing, 40 people came out to plant cherry, apple and pear trees. 


The Northbourne Action Group is a community group made up of mums and dads who give their free time to provide events and activities for the children and the community on the estate. Community spirit and the general appearance of the estate have improved dramatically since the group was formed 10 years ago. 



20 girls and boys of various ages put their wellies on and came out with their mums, dads, aunts, uncles and friends to create an orchard between the road and the playground at the entrance to the estate. 


Before we got started on planting, the kids had the chance to play and learn about nature with our outdoor learning leader Holly. They did a treasure hunt, made pictures with what they found, and played with the parachute. 


After a quick demonstration on how to plant the tree so that it has the best chance to survive, people got into groups to plant their own fruit trees. 


It was lovely to see families working together to plant their trees. Each team will remember which one they planted, and younger and older planters can watch their trees grow along side them. 


It was not only a way for residents to make a positive difference to their local environment, but also a chance for them to get to know their councillors a little better. Councillors Liz Wheatley and Godalming Town Mayor David Hunter attended and planted a tree together. 


If you a part of a community group, work for a local authority or work for a housing association, and think you could partner with Roots for the Future on a similar community project, get in touch


Planting event! 

February 2nd 2017


Roots for the Future is holding another planting event in Godalming, this time in Northbourne. Again funded by Godalming Town Council, Northbourne residents are gathering to plant an orchard of fruit trees near the playground.


We are working with the Northbourne Action Group to deliver the workshop. The action group has been active for many years improving the housing association estate by raising money for a new playground and rallying the community to have clean up days.  


The community will be gathering at 1:30 on Saturday 18th February at the Playground for kids games followed by planting cherry, apple and pear trees.  


Our new video 

Roots for the Future plants trees with communities to tackle local climate change problems and to contribute to contribute to social cohesion. Any barriers there are among participants break down as soon as people get their hands dirty together. So we love to plant trees in residential areas to bring people together to participate in outdoor community action. This video show cases our community tree planting events that take place in residential areas. 


Stonepit Copse and Green Oak Wood

November 23 2016


On Saturday 19th November, residents of Ockford Ridge and Aaron’s Hill in Godalming joined Roots for the Future for an afternoon of community tree planting. More than 30 people of all ages, including town, borough and county councillors came together to plant 50 oak saplings. 


After gathering at St Mark’s community centre to share stories and the history of the community, the group held hands under the much loved old oak tree on Franklin Road. Opinions differ on the age of the tree, some say it is 450 years old, some say it’s as old as 650! Either way it took 19 people to reach all the way around the base of the tree.


At the playground off Aaron’s Hill, known locally as the Pit, the children played outdoor games before the whole group got their hands dirty to plant the trees. 


Paid for through a grant from Godalming Town Council and supported by Waverley Borough Council, it was not only a way for locals to make a positive difference to their environment, but also a chance for them to get to know their councillors a little better. Councillors Andrew Bolton, Ollie Purkiss and Steve Cosser attended as did Godalming Town Mayor David Hunter.


17 oak saplings were planted in the Pit and 33 on the traffic island where Eashing Lane meets Aaron’s Hill. The participants pledged to look after their two community copses, watering them in dry spells and keeping back the weeds. With a little care, one or two of them may one day be as large as the old oak tree on Franklin Road. After a couple of rounds of voting it was agreed that the two community woodlands from now on would be known as Stonepit Copse and Green Oak Wood. 


Getting hands dirty at Ockford Ridge and Aaron’s Hill

November 15 2016


Friends and neighbours in Ockford Ridge and Aaron’s Hill are gathering together to get their hands dirty this Saturday, 19 November. Residents will be planting 50 oak tree saplings with us. The afternoon is paid for by Godalming Town Council and supported by Waverley Borough Council.


The tree planting workshop at Ockford Ridge and Aaron’s Hill is one of two in residential areas in Godalming made possible by a grant from Godalming Town Council. The aim is to get the community to work together to further beautify their surroundings, learn more about the environmental benefits of trees and to informally work with their councillors. 


This is a great opportunity for community members to get more involved in tackling local environmental issues, such as poor air quality and flooding. It's also a chance for residents of Ockford Ridge and Aaron’s Hill to get to know their neighbours and councillors a little better.


How to plant a tree

October 10 2016


Tree planting season has officially started. In order for a tree or tree sapling to have a good chance of survival, it is best to plant between October and April. This is because this is when the tree roots are dormant. 

How to plant a tree

Firstly prepare the area you are going to plant the tree in. Use a spade to take the turf or soil out of the ground. If it is turf, turn it over and split it almost in half. Dig a hole slightly wider and deeper than the roots of your tree. Loosen the soil around the edges.



Hammer in a stake next to the hole. Children, make sure an adult helps you with this.


Put the tree in the hole and check the depth. The sapling comes in soil so make sure you don’t cover that soil too much more. The top of this soil should be level with the ground. If a tree is planted too deep the stem may rot, too shallow and the roots above ground will die.

Hold the tree upright and gently push the soil back into the hole, pressing it down onto the roots. Don't compact the soil too much as this will stop water and air circulation, but make sure your tree is steady.

If your hole is in turf, put the turf back over the hole with the split either side of the young tree, grass side down. This will prevent the grass around it growing close to the tree and taking away the nutrients the tree needs. 




Water your tree so it has a good start in its new home!



Cover your tree with the guard to protect it from deer, rabbits and hares. Make sure you have the guard with the flared top facing up. Guide the tree into the tube and push the bottom of the tree into the ground firmly.


Watch your tree grow and thrive into maturity!


A whole lot of Moos

September 5 2016


On Friday we went to the Coverwood Farm Food and Drink festival where all the Surrey Cow Parade Moos are on display before they get auctioned off next month.  

The Cow Parade is the world’s largest public art event, and rounds up the support of celebrities and community groups to raise money for local community projects and enterprise schemes.  The Surrey Cow Parade aims to share the beauty of the Surrey Hills and provide a boost to local businesses and community projects, such as Roots for the Future's tree planting workshops. 

Co-founders Francesca and Dan on either side of Jamie and Sibka from Van Arnhem, sponsors of Mahana Moo


It was great to see all the Moos in one place. Check out our Facebook Album of all the Moos. 

Thank you, Godalming!

September 2 2016


Community spirit was alive and well in Godalming on the Bank Holiday Sunday night. We held our first ever fundraising event. Our pub quiz raised just over £450!

Thanks so much to all who came along to support us and to all those who bought raffle tickets.



​Staff at the Star Pub on Church St were on top form. Andy cooked a delicous chili for all those who paid to take part. Woody, Dave and Jade ensured the night ran smoothly. And Quizmaster Ash wrote a fun (and challenging!) quiz.



We couldn't have done it without the generocity of local businesses who donated prizes. A huge thank you goes out to:

Weather Studios, Sing O Lingo, Greenhouse flower shop, Grills and Greens, Hairosmith, Enzosario, A Kellie Cake, Sandhills Honey, ALCO properties, Multi-Store, Pies Books, Figment of my Illustration, Andy Dodd, Emily Featherstone, Yours Truly Beauty, The Star Pub.

We're looking forward to holding our next event sometime in the run up to Christmas. Hope to see you there!


Staycation, Godalming

August 11 2016


Roots for the Future ran a stall at the weekend at Staycation Live, Godalming’s community music, food and arts festival. It was our first ever stall at a public event and we were excited to break out our brand new banner. 


Directors Sam Allen (left) and Dan Rigden (right)

We sold our dedication and memory trees with people buying them to dedicate to loved ones. We did tree tatoos on children, large and small, while telling people all about our workshops and activities. 


If you know of any community fetes or festivals where we can hold a stall to get the word out that we hold community tree planting workshops, let us know through our contact form


We are taking workshop bookings

July 27 2016


Roots for the Future engages communities in and around Godalming in tree planting workshops to help tackle our local, national and global climate challenges. We hold school workshops which aim to get children actively involved in enjoying the outdoors and the environment, and learning about preserving and enhancing the natural beauty of their surroundings. We aspire to inspire the next generation to find environmental solutions to climate change through learning about the many benefits of trees. 

Our workshops are led by our Outdoor Learning Leader, Holly Dabbs, who has many years’ experience of classroom and outdoor education. The workshops are designed to build children’s relationship with the outdoors and encourage them to live more harmoniously with nature. The workshops familiarise children with the natural world through sensory exploration.


Our one minute video gives you a taste of what the workshops are like:

We can design bespoke workshops for schools based on current school topics for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 and can incorporate specific national curriculum learning outcomes and/or complement the curriculum. 


The workshops include:
•    Treasure hunts to foster an independence and love of the outdoors
•    Team games to increase confidence and self-esteem
•    Outdoor play to understand personal and physical boundaries and to learn risk management 

•    Learning about trees and their relationship to tackling climate change to value nature and be able to communicate about it.


If appropriate the workshops can take place on the school grounds or we can work with our partners to use land elsewhere. 



It is our aim to equip and inspire the next generation to be committed to creating and maintaining a sustainable natural environment.


Please fill out the contact us form to inquire about the workshops. 


Surrey Cow Parade

June 15 2016


Roots for the Future is the lucky beneficiary of the sale of one of the colourful cows you may see dotted around the countryside. With huge thanks to our friends and sponsors Van Arnhem Nursery Roots for the Future and charity Perennial will benefit from the auction of Mahana Moo through the Surrey Cow Parade. A local artist was commissioned to make the fiberglass Moo beautiful. Here she is in the studio, getting all dressed up. 


The Cow Parade is the world’s largest public art event, and rounds up the support of celebrities and community groups to raise money for local community projects and enterprise schemes.  The Surrey Cow Parade aims to share the beauty of the Surrey Hills and provide a boost to local businesses and community projects. 


Cow Parade Surrey officially launched to the public May Bank Holiday at the Surrey County Show which 40,000 people attended. We had the opportunity to get up close to many of the marvellous moos and find out more about the other beneficiaries. There were 15 full-size moos and some wee moos dotted around the showground. Despite downloading the free app, and walking all around the grounds, we couldn't find our Mahana Moo to meet her for the first time. We resorted to showing county show staff her picture and asking, "have you seen this cow?"


It turned out she was in the VIP exclusive area. Lucky Mahana! Apparently we weren't VIP or exclusive enough to be allowed in to see her. But it didn't matter because she was one of only two cows to be paraded around the main arena on the back of a trailer for all to see. And after all that excitement, she is now in her natural environment in a field in the Surrey Hills. Let us know if you spot her!

On the 3rd September, at the Surrey Hills Food, Drink & Music Festival at Coverwood Farm, all the cows will be exhibited and judged. Most of the cows will then be auctioned but the cows judged to be the top 20 beauoooties will bypass this auction and go to a Gala event in London to make even more money. Fingers crossed Mahana gets to go to London! We think she's worth it, she's udderly gorgeous. 


To get involved in the Surrey Cow Parade download the app

We made a video

June 6 2016


Roots for the Future has made a video showcasing our work. Watch it here. 


Our first workshop!

April 27 2016


On Saturday, Roots for the Future held our very first tree planting workshop and we are delighted with how it went. Our pilot was timed to tie in with Earth Day and its theme of Trees for the Earth. Roots for the Future and a group of guides, brownies and rainbows, their parents and siblings were lucky enough to be invited to plant 45 tree saplings on the Birtley Estate in Bramley, South West Surrey. 


Birtley Estate, the home of Surrey Hills Enterprise, has all sorts of activities which aim to let the public know what can be done with Surrey’s woodland for the benefit of the environment, community and the local economy.


We started off our workshop with some warm up games to learn each other’s names. The children got the chance to explore the surroundings on a little treasure hunt looking for different shaped leaves, something soft, something hard and something colourful. 


The woodland where we planted our tree saplings has horse chestnut trees, alders and beech trees. And at this time of year, an abundance of bluebells!


After the games, onto the serious business of planting trees. We had three different species of tree saplings, wild cherry, beech and hornbeam, all indigenous. 


The saplings are very small so need to be stabilised with a stake and protected from deer and rabbits with a guard.


Everyone had the chance to plant at least one sapling. Parents and Brownie leaders got involved too and with such an enthusiastic team of planters, we managed to plant several glades of trees in one afternoon.


Participants had the chance to put their own names on tree tags to show they had planted the tree and some chose dedicate their tree to someone special instead. 


Some people bought tree saplings through Treebay for them to be planted for at our workshop. Treebay offers you the chance to buy a tree and dedicate it to someone you care about. You can buy a sapling for a gift and at the same time support our work. 


It was a lovely day. The children and adults were kind enough to fill out feedback forms. Georgie told us she would tell her friends “it was very fun and I would advise them to come.” Emma said, when asked what is good about planting a tree, “it’s going to keep growing for years and years.” Elliot told us the only thing that would make the day even better would have been to have a barbecue. 


The day and our work was featured in the Surrey Advertiser and on Get Surrey

From Paris to New York

April 22 2016


Today is Earth Day and today 60 world leaders and around 110 other countries’ representatives are signing the Paris Climate Agreement in New York. It will be a ceremonial affair, befitting the landmark agreement. One-by-one in alphabetical order, representatives at the UN HQ will have 40 seconds each to sign the single copy of the agreement which is translated into six languages. 


The Paris Agreement is the first ever truly universal treaty to fight climate change. Never before has a climate deal included so many countries.  The 1997 Kyoto Protocol set targets for emissions cuts but fewer countries ratified the deal. The Copenhagen conference in 2009 was supposed to deliver a treaty but ended in chaos. The Paris conference, held in December last year, was different - all 185 countries taking part signed up.

All countries agreed a temperature rise of 1.5C from pre-industrial times to 2100, a limit demanded by many low-lying states and developing countries who are at most risk of the extreme weather effects of climate change. Richer nations also agreed to contribute around £66 billion a year until 2025 to help those countries build their resilience to the dangerous consequences of our changing climate.  

Article 12 of the Paris Agreement is on education, training and public awareness. It states that parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under the agreement.


Roots for the Future is on a mission to encourage and inspire the community to actively participate in the planting and preservation of trees, thereby leaving a lasting legacy of an improved local environment. We will do this through workshops planting small glades of tree saplings and semi-established trees with the community, with a particular focus on children and youth. The workshops aim to empower the next generation with a foundation of knowledge and skills in finding environmental solutions that curb the effects of climate change. 


Addressing an audience in London at an event I went to in February, Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the UN, said: “People are abusing the privilege of nature. We have only one Earth. This is the only place where human beings can live together with nature. We cannot negotiate with nature. We cannot go against it. [This is] a turning point to change our course in living harmoniously with nature.” 


Roots for the Future's vision is that our community is engaged in, invested in and committed to creating and maintaining a sustainable natural environment within their local vicinity. We want to ensure that all those we can reach start living more harmoneously with nature. 

Find out more about Roots for the Future and how you can get involved. 



Earth Day tree planting

April 20 2016


This Friday, April 22nd, is Earth Day, a day that mobilises 200 million people in 141 countries each year to ensure that environmental issues remain central to global politics. This year’s Earth Day theme is Trees for the Earth so we thought it was the perfect time for us to hold our pilot Roots for the Future workshop. 

On Saturday, along with around 30 Brownies and Rainbows and their families, we will be planting 45 tree saplings. We have 15 wild cherry saplings, 15 hornbeam saplings and 15 beech saplings to plant. Each gets its own guard to protect it from rabbits and deer, and a stake to keep it upright. 

The first Earth Day took place in 1970 and was the birth of the modern day environmental movement. This year’s theme Trees for the Earth, is the launch of their ambitious goal to plant 7.8 billion trees between now and their 50th anniversary in 2020. So our 45 saplings will be the start of a small contribution that Roots for the Future can make in helping them to deliver that goal. 

X Marks the Spot
We will be planting our saplings on Birtley Estate in Bramley, South West Surrey. Birtley House is the home of Surrey Hills Enterprise and has a woodland mangagement scheme that our tree planting activities works well with. We are delighted to have the chance to plant our first glades of trees in such a beautiful setting. 

The tree planting is made possible by people who have bought a sapling through our campaign TreeBay. Through TreeBay you can buy a dedication tree in the name of someone you care about. Or we can plant a tree in memory of one of your loved ones. You could even buy a "Family Tree" and in years to come, where it is planted can be a special place for you and your family to visit. We are also offering individuals and businesses the chance to buy carbon offsetting trees. 

Roots for the Future is on a mission to encourage and inspire the community to participate in environmental actions that tackle climate change. We do this through tree planting workshops and hope that the Brownies and Rainbows will give us some great feedback about what worked well and what we can do to make the workshop better. 

As the planting season for trees comes to an end for the spring and summer, we will use the feedback as we design more workshops. We will be designing workshops for schools, youth groups, community groups and away days for businesses, holding them in the autumn and winter. If you want us to come and do a workshop for you and your school, group or business, get in touch. In the meantime, a very Happy Earth Day to you.

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