Across Perth and Kinross, twelve schools have recently been awarded Tree Council Orchards for Schools kits to be part of a UK wide initiative to plant 5 or 10 fruit trees and fruiting hedges. This contributes to a key action in the Tayside Local Biodiversity Action Plan.
In addition, Kinnoull Primary School’s Eco Group in Perth, together with Crieff, St Madoes and Robert Douglas Memorial Primary Schools are working with the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership on preparing a BeeWild Biodiversity Action Plan which will see fruit trees in tubs, raised beds for vegetable and herb growing, pollinator banks and berried trees being planted to help beneficial insects, bats and birds. Teachers, pupils and families will be involved in deciding what actions they want to undertake in the school grounds.
Through early engagement with architects, the newly extended Letham Primary School has raised beds for planting carrots to use for soup making in the kitchen! Plus, native hedges and trees from the Woodland Trust that will be planted around the boundary to soften the road noise and provide berries for birds to eat. Staff and pupils have committed to the maintenance of both the trees and hedges which will be a continued learning experience for young people.
To further encourage tree planting in school grounds and answer frequently asked questions, a ‘how to’ sheet has been created in line with the Council’s Interim Climate Emergency Report and Action Plan.
The Woodland Trust and Tree Council have a wealth of information on tree planting, which species work best where, how to organise a tree planting event and tree aftercare short and long term. Both the Woodland Trust and Tree Council provide free tree and hedge packs for schools and are very helpful so get in touch with them.
There are a lot of things to consider! Maybe more than you think such as location of underground services, maintenance of existing grass areas, gaining permission and ensuring someone will take responsibility for maintenance and care of trees.
There may be a cost implication if you need to purchase mulching matts and tools.
Encourage the school to research and design their space as much as possible.
Encourage research of different tree species and their ability to sequester carbon etc.
Incorporate art and design into the process with creation of signage, memorial plaques and decorated stones. Allow creativity to flourish as part of the project to increase ownership by pupils.
Encourage pupils to take responsibility of maintenance such as weeding, leaf clearing and checking on the tree regularly.
Encourage the school to plant pollinator-friendly bulbs or wildflowers at the base of the trees and hedges to increase wildlife in the schoolgrounds. The lessening of grass cutting in these areas sequesters carbon.
Phone the local newspaper, it is an excellent news story! Include in local newsletters and E-News
- School staff and pupils will be monitoring the trees regularly as part of their maintenance programme. All schools are being encouraged to monitor wildlife through citizen science schemes.
- Being part of Tree Council Orchards for Schools is ensuring PKC is contributing towards an overall 32,000 fruit trees being planted across the UK this winter – teaching resources will ensure maximum success and the children can monitor their trees by being #ForceForNature Champions.