From hills to trees for Hillingdon Triathletes

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As part of the ‘I dig trees’ project, Hillingdon Triathletes’ members are fostering and caring for saplings that will be planted around London once they have grown and matured enough to survive outdoors.

Boo Smith, member and coach at the club, was first introduced to the ‘I dig trees’ project run by OVO Energy and The Conservation Volunteers by a friend looking to help grow the tree fostering and planting initiative.

“I received an email from one of my friends asking people to ‘foster’ saplings,” Smith commented. “I followed this up and made contact with a lady called Lorna who explained as to how I could help.

“She and her friends take care of a park in Harrow. Last year, 220 saplings were planted in this green space with a 10-15% survival rate, which is not unusual, however, she wanted to do better.

“She was encouraging folk to foster the saplings for approximately two years. They could be given a forever home or be returned to be planted in a green space in one of the surrounding London boroughs.”

Smith reached out to her network including her fellow club members. Having posted on the club website about the project, she was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response she  received.

“I must have passed on at least 250 trees, with lots of support from our club chairwoman Jacqui, who also distributed a further 200 saplings,” Smith added.

“This is so important to me, having lived in Hillingdon on the outskirts of London all my life,  we need to ensure the survival of our green spaces.”

“It was lovely to see members coming along with their children to choose a baby tree to foster. I also had donations of pots and compost to assist with the planting.

With Covid-19 restrictions having eased in England, club activity has resumed in person for Hillingdon Triathletes.

“We have an amazing committee that is supported by a network of coaches and volunteers,” Smith continued. “Because of this we have been able to get back to group activities as soon as lockdown restrictions were eased.

“Coached running groups are filled to capacity and last week a ‘trial’ duathlon was held at our local cycle circuit. Our first cycle time trial was held a couple of weeks ago with the next to be held shortly.

“We are now looking forward to some triathlons. They may have a slightly different format for a little while but it will be great to get on with some swim, bike and running.”

British Triathlon has had an Environment and Sustainability Committee since 2019, leading to the governing body making sustainable changes. On Earth Day (22 April) 2021, the organisation launched applications to join its sustainability commission to drive the sport forwards into a sustainable future.

More information on the commission and how to apply can be found here.