THE CHILDREN of Wicor Primary School have been doing their bit for the environment by planting more than 200 trees.
The school’s 440 pupils were joined by teachers and local volunteers to plant the saplings.
Headteacher Mark Wildman said: ‘My ambition is to see every child having planted at least one tree. As the children develop during their time at the school they will also see their tree grow and evolve.’
The initiative was part of the school’s Winter Grounds Day – a time set aside every season in which children take on a practical role in developing the school’s local environment.
Ravelyn Smith, four, said: ‘I have planted three trees. It has been a lot of fun.’
Classmate, William Rogers, five, added: ‘It will be fun to see my tree grow and to see how big it is in Year 6.’
In addition to providing a practical experience for the children the initiative also provides an opportunity for pupils to develop their understanding of the natural world.
School horticulturalist, Louise Moreton, said: ‘The key message is all about how we can work to improve the planet. In class the children have been learning about the damage people have done to the environment and so it is important they understand the difference we can make.’
One of the key concepts the children having been studying is the role trees play in improving the schools carbon footprint.
Year 3 pupil, Lexi Lewis, eight, said: ‘Trees are really important as they give us oxygen and take in carbon dioxide.’
Classmate, Rosie McElray,seven, added: ‘I have planted six trees which can help to stop climate change. It also provides habitat for wildlife.’
The venture is a real community initiative with a band of willing volunteers helping the children.
David Harrison volunteers two days a week and also runs the school gardening club. A keen horticulturalist, David feels the tree planting provides an invaluable learning experience.
‘Getting out in the environment is massively important to children’s learning. They can learn about the link between the trees and wildlife and use gardening tools in a practical setting,’ he explained.
In the future the school also hopes to harvest some of the fruits from the planted trees.
‘We hope to get plums and cherries which we can add to the food from our school allotments,’ explained Louise.
Developing the school’s natural environmental has become even more significant for Louise after a housing development was built on an adjacent field.
As reported in The News, the school vociferously campaigned against the development.
Speaking at the time, Mr Wildman said: ‘We risk losing those remaining valuable wildlife refuges and open green spaces that make our part of the world so special.’
With the field now having been replaced with bricks and tarmac, Louise feels the tree planting initiative takes on even greater importance.
‘With the housing development it is even more important to create more wildlife habitat. As the trees mature it will increase the area of greenery and the estate will be less visible,’ said Louise.