We planted 10 mini groves of trees with Hale Academy in Farnham last week. 38 children from Year 4 braved the drizzle and mud to plant 50 saplings in the park behind their school. We planted them in clumps of 5 trees along a pathway that leads from the housing estate to the back of the school.
The 8 and 9 year olds planted Hazel, Bird cherry, Dogwood, Field maple and Wild cherry which will become little nature hubs benefitting butterflies, doormice, badgers, blackbirds, thrushes and woodpeckers. Field Maple is great for air pollution so will benefit the children at the school and those who enjoy the park.
We talked about all the amazing facts we know about trees, the children knew lots – that trees absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, that they give nature a home, some produce fruit, and they make brilliant playgrounds. We also talked about how trees make us feel better when we spend time amongst them.
But the best bit is always the planting and the children were enthusiastic tree planters, getting their hand dirty in the soil and working in teams to get the little trees in the ground.
The caretaker Stewart and I worked until dusk to get the saplings tucked away into their protective cages. The wire homes will protect them from balls and rabbit until they are big enough to fend for themselves.
It felt fitting that while we were planting, dignitaries from around the world were negotiating how to cut carbon emissions and limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. It’s estimated that worldwide 15 billion trees are cut down each year and only around 5 billion are planted. Even though it seems like we have a lot of trees here in Surrey, it is still only half the European average, so it’s essential we plant as many as we can and protect what we already have.