SEPTEMBER 18, 2019
The construction of the Britain branch office near Chelmsford, Essex, is projected to be completed in December 2019. Already, it is recognized by secular experts as an example of land rejuvenation.
When our brothers purchased the property in 2015, it was a vehicle scrap heap and an unregulated dump site. Volunteers unearthed and recycled large quantities of waste material, including thousands of tires—some dating back to World War II. Then they sifted through the contaminated soil to remove even small pieces of debris, and recycled or repurposed the debris when possible, reusing the soil on the site. Ultimately, more than 11,000 brothers and sisters have volunteered over four million hours to help restore the 34-hectare (approx. 85 a.) property.
The finished property will include native and botanical gardens, ponds, wildflower meadows, and an orchard. The landscape design goes beyond aesthetics. It also provides homes for native wildlife, manages surface water sustainably, preserves mature trees and hedgerows, increases native plant numbers, and beautifies the area for local residents.
Brother Paul Rogers, a member of the Construction Project Committee (CPC), says: “The property we purchased had been neglected and abused for many years. The transformation of the site began with an army of willing volunteers painstakingly sorting through the waste. The cleanup phase was followed by shaping and profiling the land in harmony with the existing natural features of the site, along with the planting of hundreds of new trees, bushes, and other plants. The beautiful end result echoes the words of Ezekiel 36:35, 36: ‘And people will say: “The desolate land has become like the garden of Eden” . . . And the nations . . . will have to know that I myself, Jehovah, have built what was torn down, and I have planted what was desolate.’”
Two sisters work to clear a pond of debris. Ponds were cleared of large debris and silt with tractors, while smaller debris and invasive plants were removed by hand. Over 8,000 new aquatic plants have been installed, contributing to visibly cleaner water
One of the ponds that is part of the sustainable drainage system handles surface water from a nearby road and from the branch office property. On the left of the picture is a bus stop with a viewing area that allows local residents to enjoy the garden
A landscaping team of three works to plant a tree on site. Nearly 15,000 trees, shrubs, and other plants have been added
Six olive trees, estimated to be about 100 years old, have been installed in planters in front of the office complex
A group of sisters pose for a photograph in between their landscaping work. Over 18,000 flowering bulbs have been planted in a wooded area of the property. At least 80 percent of the plants chosen for the project are native to the area
Flowers, shrubs, and trees neatly arranged outside the entrance to Residence F