Hammersmith & Fulham resident funds Tiny Forest

Normand Park’s new Tiny Forest has been funded by a generous donation from local resident Shamita Ray.

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Pictured from left to right are donor Shamita Ray, Cllr Sharon Holder and Mayor of H&F Cllr PJ Murphy

Normand Park’s new Tiny Forest has been funded by a generous donation from local resident Shamita Ray.

Shamita, 52, a yoga and dance teacher who has lived in Fulham for around 30 years, made the donation to Earthwatch Europe with the request that the site be as local to London as possible.

“I was pleasantly surprised that a site so close to home became available. I was really expecting it to be an hour or so away from me” said Shamita.

The new Tiny Forest is repurposing the park’s disused bowls green.

“When I first started looking with Earthwatch there were two potential sites, but once I knew one was Normand Park and went to visit the proposed spot, I knew it was the right choice”.

Shamita lives just a ten-minute walk away from the park, making the site “a perfect destination” and even joined Earthwatch for their initial evaluation of the site’s soil back in 2021.

She’s made her donation for two reasons: in remembrance of her parents who emigrated from India to live and work in Scotland, and because of the huge environmental benefits that Tiny Forests can have.

“It would have been nice to do something in remembrance that was more related to their jobs, but there’s not much you can do with electrical engineering! Better to combine their memory with something that gives back and that everyone can enjoy.”

Six hundred native trees and shrubs have been planted in Normand Park, in an area the size of a tennis court, and it’s hoped that over 500 different animal and plant species will be attracted to the site within its first three years.

“I chose a Tiny Forest because of climate change, and because we need more trees and biodiversity. The environment and climate change are big areas of interest for me,” explained Shamita.

“There’s nothing better than forests because trees can last for thousands of years and the generations way beyond me will be able to enjoy them.

“To have something that you can watch grow in memory is a really nice thing to do. I’ve been able to capture two goals by planting trees.”

Shamita believes that a Tiny Forest is something that everyone can appreciate: “You can’t really go wrong with trees, it’s so pleasant to be within them and such a nice thing to have and to be able to watch grow over the years.”

She joined Earthwatch, pupils from Sir John Lillie, local residents from SOBUS, People Arise Now, Fulham Climate Hub and the Friends of Margravine Cemetery on planting day (1 March). Fulham Broadway’s Ward Councillor and H&F’s Cabinet Member for Strategy Cllr Sharon Holder and H&F’s Mayor Cllr PJ Murphy also attended.

“It was so exciting, the children were having so much fun being able to plant their own trees,” said Shamita.

“I live in a London flat without a garden so can’t really garden myself. Now it’s planted though, you won’t be able to stop me, I’ll be here every other weekend to check on its progress! It’ll be great to see how much it’s grown in a year or two’s time.”

Fighting climate change

Hammersmith & Fulham was the first borough in London to plant a Tiny Forest, part of our work to fight climate change.

In June 2019, H&F Council declared a climate and ecological emergency.

We’ve set the goal to reach net zero carbon emissions in the borough by 2030, and to become the greenest borough in the country.

We’re taking big steps to meet these goals and in January were rated the top council in London for climate change plans by the not-for-profit organisation Climate Emergency UK.

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