Ecosia, the ethical search engine which uses advertising revenues from searches to plant trees across the world, is this week beginning a project to plant 500 trees at Hunter’s Hall Park near The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

The trees are being planted to raise awareness around the important links between the environment and mental and physical wellbeing and provide a space to rest and relax for NHS staff. 

  • The project has been funded through advertising revenues from Ecosia and will increase biodiversity and access to wildlife as well as remove CO2 from the atmosphere and improve air quality around the hospital 
  • The trees will be a mixture of oak, silver birch, hazel, alder and rowan 
  • The trees are being planted in partnership with Trees for Cities and Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust
  • This is the second time Ecosia has planted trees at the site – bringing the total trees funded by Ecosia to 1,000 in Edinburgh as part of the #GrowYourLove campaign to create green spaces around hospitals to support NHS key workers and their long-term wellbeing 

Today Ecosia, the not-for-profit search engine with over 1 million UK users, commenced its second tree-planting project in Scotland at Hunters Hall Park, between the Jack Kane Centre and near the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh A total of 500 trees were planted, including species such as oak, silver birch, hazel, alder and rowan, all of which have been funded by Ecosia. 

This is the second time Ecosia, Trees for Cities and Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust (ELGT) have planted trees near The Royal Infirmary. In March this year, the company planted an initial 500 trees, also at Hunters Hall Park, which were dedicated to NHS staff as a living monument and a gesture of thanks from the general public for their efforts fighting Covid-19. The trees will increase biodiversity and access to local wildlife, as well as remove CO2 from the atmosphere and improve overall air quality around the hospital.

The project is also one of three Ecosia tree-planting projects across Scotland, including a project which will launch tomorrow at Brownside Braes in Paisley, Glasgow, highlighting the search engine’s long term commitment to the region.  

The trees were funded through the #GrowYourLove campaign, a long-term, forward-looking initiative with the NHS Forest and Trees for Cities to plant trees in and surrounding hospitals in the UK to create green spaces to help support staff’s long-term wellbeing. Recent reports have highlighted intensive care unit staff suffering adverse mental health symptoms following the pandemic, whilst studies have proven the benefits between spending time in nature and overall health. Since November 2020, over 2,000 trees have been planted by Ecosia at more than 30 hospitals and trusts around the UK including Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool; Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Greater London and Newcastle University Hospital Trust through the initiative. 

Founded in 2009, Ecosia now has over 15 million active users and has planted over 130 million trees to date. Each search on Ecosia removes an estimated 0.5kg CO2 from the atmosphere. 

Ecosia’s UK Country Manager, Sophie Dembinski said: “The #GrowYourLove campaign initially came out of a desire to show support and appreciation to NHS staff during the first Covid-19 lockdown. But significant pressures remain on the NHS long after the lockdowns have ended, with NHS workers continuing to work tirelessly to treat thousands who have been waiting months for medical treatment. For many local communities access to nature and clean air particularly around UK hospitals is a real problem. Covid 19 highlighted the crucial links between the health of the planet and our collective wellbeing, and the talks currently taking place at COP26 in Glasgow only reinforce this. We hope that the trees planted near the Royal Infirmary during COP26 will help to restore biodiversity and provide a space for rest and relaxation for generations of NHS workers and their patients for many years to come.” 

Jane Hopton, Programme Director, NHS Lothian, said: “Green spaces have been shown to have a positive impact on both our physical health and mental wellbeing. We are delighted that Ecosia chose to plant trees close to the Royal Infirmary site. These trees will not only be enjoyed by our staff and patients, but by the local community as well.”

Dr Derek Smith with NHS Lothian: ‘We’re planting trees here with Ecosia less than a kilometre away from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh which is where I work. It has been a great campaign today with local ecological groups from Edinburgh University who are using Ecosia to help spread the word about planting trees and encouraging green space in our communities and where we work. I am looking forward to coming back here and letting Ecosia know how the trees are doing in future.”

man crouching down with spade in hand
Dr Derek Smith