Active Live's third Big Dig at Easter Bush

This year marked another successful event of bringing people together to enjoy the great outdoors and promote physical activity.

Over the course of three days, a group of 100 staff and students came together to plant a total of 720 trees. These trees consisted of 14 different types, such as Crab Apple, Cherry, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel, Silver Birch, Dogwood, and Rowan. Volunteers from various University departments, such as University Conservation Science, The Sports Union, Edinburgh Innovations and Estates, contributed to the effort. Edinburgh Innovations, the University's commercialisation service, celebrated their accomplishments this year by planting 105 trees to mark the creation of 105 new student start-ups. The milestone of 105 start-ups also represented a significant increase in investment, with a record-breaking £30.5m invested in student start-ups for 2021/22, triple the amount from the previous year.

People planting trees with girl being pushed in a wheel barrow

I’m always really inspired by the ideas and energy of our students, and EI is proud to support them on their entrepreneurial journey. It feels right to celebrate by planting saplings today that, like ideas, will grow and thrive with the right nourishment.

Lorna Baird
Student Enterprise Manager at Edinburgh Innovations

Read more about the inspiring start-up stories from Edinburgh Innovations and their experience at the Big Dig.  

We are pleased to share that after this year's Big Dig, a grand total of 2000 trees have been planted at the Easter Bush Campus. We would like to express our appreciation to the Woodland Trust for donating all the trees, and we are thrilled to be contributing to the University's trees planting initiative to achieve net zero by 2040. Our next big goal is to establish a 'picking trail' that allows individuals to enjoy foraging while out walking around the campus.

The Active Lives programme aims to encourage our University community to be more active more often. They use the 5 pillars of well-being to help with both mental and physical health.

I am so proud that the Big Dig ticks every box for all our staff and students to successfully fulfil all 5 ways of their well-being:

Connect: We connected with each other but also with nature.

Keep active: We were constantly moving by walking, digging and planting.

Take note: We took note of our beautiful surroundings and the wildlife around us.

Learn: We learnt how to plant a tree, about different tree types, how to protect the saplings, as well as learning about the mulch that is produced on campus to help the trees bloom. 

Give: Not only did we give back to nature but we gave back to ourselves, by stepping away from our computers, having time to reflect while giving us a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment

Here's to Big Dig 2024!

Amanda Marshall
Active Lives co-ordinator
Image of lady on the grass surrounded by plants and spades

Wanted to write and say what a great session my team had with Amanda yesterday – what a great initiative and what a great person to have running it. We really enjoyed ourselves and I think a lot of folk came away feeling really good about themselves; they’d done something for the environment, been active, been outside, achieved something, met new team members – a brilliant, all-encompassing exercise

Zoe Stephens
Director of Estates Business Services

A huge thanks to Mandy who coordinated 100 volunteers across 6 sessions seamlessly! Your energy and enthusiasm was infectious during the event and everyone left with a sense of achievement and a spring in their step. No wonder this year was a sell out!”

Katherine Corbett
Active Health Manager at Sport & Exercise

We want to express our deepest gratitude to Mandy, our Active Lives Co-ordinator who has been instrumental in organizing and coordinating the Big Dig since its launch in 2021. Thank you, Mandy, for your unwavering dedication and commitment to this project.

Cameron Ritchie
Depute Director and Head of Operations at Sport & Eercise