PRIMARY school children are tending to their own saplings this winter as they prepare to take part in Trees for Life 2013.
It’s the fifth year of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture’s initiative, which encourages primary pupils to learn about tree species, both in the classroom and while out and about.
Five types of native broadleaved tree are being distributed to schools by DEFA.
Teachers’ activity packs show pupils how tall the trees will grow and how to measure the height and age of a tree.
Pupils will also learn about seeds, leaves, pests, diseases and planting.
Some 500 pupils from 12 schools will be taken to Conrhenny in Lonan to plant their trees at the Children’s Wood, under the supervision of DEFA’s forestry team, from March 4 to 8, 2013. Their saplings will add to the 2,000 already planted by schools.
It’s hoped children will return in years to come to see the saplings grow.
Education Minister Tim Crookall MHK, political members Tony Wild MLC and Juan Turner MLC, along with DEFA forestry member Brenda Cannell MHK, attended the launch of Trees for Life 2013 at Fairfield Junior School in Douglas last week.
As excited pupils took delivery of their saplings, head teacher Ian Walmsley said: ‘It was Albert Einstein who said “the only source of knowledge is experience”.
‘By providing our year three pupils with the experience of planting saplings and giving them the opportunity to see the saplings grow over time, the pupils will more fully appreciate the importance of trees and the need to respect the green areas within our communities.’ He said the activity pack supplied by the DEFA complements the ‘living and growing’ element of the curriculum and will further enhance pupils’ understanding of this area.
Mr Crookall said: ‘Trees for Life is a great way of encouraging children to learn about their environment in a hands-on and fun way. Children taking part this year will place their saplings alongside those already growing, adding to this fantastic amenity.’
Mrs Cannell said: ‘I am delighted to see the development of the Trees for Life scheme and to see that it is now a firm part of the school calendar.’
The land originally earmarked would have been fully planted by 2016 but Mrs Cannell revealed: ‘We are looking to allocate more space, to be able to continue the scheme well into the future.’