Ten years ago, the founder of Tentsile, Alex Shirley-Smith, had the ambition to plant a million trees. It was a big dream that grew from a childhood seed. 

Now, ten years on, Tentsile has planted over a million trees. Yes, for a tiny company coming out of the UK, we’ve made it. It took a lot of hard work, and it certainly took a lot longer than we would have hoped. But we made it!

And not just for numbers’ sake. Sure, it’s always nice to aim for, and reach, a target - but there is a more serious reason why we plant trees (and it is not just so we can hang out in them - although that, too, is also very nice!).

Trees have a specific role to play in the environment. For example, we know they take out carbon from the atmosphere. We know they produce oxygen. We also know they provide habitats for animals. Moreover, we know planting and maintaining forests provides employment, and that by working hand in hand with communities the projects are informed by years of local knowledge and expertise.   

Our project with Earth Lungs focuses specifically on mangroves. Although for team Tentsile UK, mangroves are associated with hot and exotic climes in parts of the world we can only dream of (whilst sipping tea in the grey drizzle that is our little island!), for millions of people around the globe, the importance of mangroves cannot be over-stated. Whether you live in Florida or Kenya, Costa Rica or Madagascar, you will be aware that mangroves are the backbone of many eco-systems the world over. The roots of mangrove trees bury deep into the coastline or riverbank, encouraging soil deposition and protect against coastal erosion. This is the way they build up eco-systems. They create spaces of calm within the water for animals such as crabs, birds and small fish, all of which use the roots for shelter and protection, and all of which play a role in the local wildlife food chain. These mangrove roots also act like shields along coastlines or riverbanks, stopping waves from getting inland and causing further erosion, protecting land animals and human homes, as well as water creatures. All in all, mangrove trees have an important – and unique – function. And that’s why Tentsile works with Earth Lungs to support the planting and maintaining of mangrove forests (or mangals) in Kenya.

So, our tree planting efforts continue, as we look towards our next million. I know it isn’t quite India’s world-recording-smashing 50 million trees in one day or Mr Beast’s 24 million trees since 2020, but it is a next million nonetheless. And it’s our next million; a million more we can be proud of, a million more that will be closely monitored, tracked and nurtured so thay are able to flourish. Every little helps. Many a mickle makes a muckle. Or, indeed, many a mangrove makes a mangal.





Kirstie Grego