Trees and the copses and woodland they make up are an essential part of our heritage and yet one which, if we’re not careful, would be all too easy to lose.
Loss of Native Woodlands
According to national woodlands charity, the Woodland Trust, since the 1930’s, nearly half of our native British woodland has already been lost, either due to neglect, disease, replacement with conifers or cut down to make room for building. But woods and trees are essential to our ecosystem and have many important roles including;
- Producing oxygen
- Storing CO2
- Stabilising the soil
- Supporting life-forms
- Protecting wildlife
- Enriching our landscape
- Providing recreation
Trees and Education
Trees can also play an enormous part in our education and to this end, the Woodland Trust launched an initiative which supports the planting of trees in schools and helps teach children the their value. As part of the scheme, the conservation trust also offer schools free trees and seed packs to grow their own hedges and copses, as well as providing all sorts of resources both on and off site.
The Green Tree Schools Award
Schools development officer, Karen Letten, says: “The scheme promotes a range of opportunities, each designed to stimulate a child’s imagination and sustain their interest in nature. The achievements of the school are recognised through an awards scheme in which they receive points for taking part in activities. As they reach milestones within the project they will receive bronze, silver and finally an attractive wooden plaque which acknowledges they’ve achieved the environmental accolade of a gold award.”
First Gold Award-Winner
In July 2008 Market Harborough CofE Primary School became the first school in the UK to receive a gold award from the Woodland Trust Green Tree Schools Award. The school’s Green Team, made up of a representative from each Key Stage 2 class, have been involved in all sorts of environmental projects including planting a willow maze on the school field in 2004 and fruit trees in their nature area. In signing up to the Woodland Trust initiative, they hoped to extend their environmental work as well as enjoy the benefits.
One teacher at the school, Julie Guiver, said of the project, “the Woodland Trust provides a wonderful resource to support learning within the classroom as well as beyond the concrete walls. They have donated trees, hedges and seeds to develop our outside environment. We have enjoyed the journey to achieving our Gold award and are thrilled to be the first school in the UK to achieve it.”
Ancient Tree Hunt
To date, Market Harborough Primary school has planted over 240 new trees in the grounds and have also continued their involvement with the Woodland Trust by joining the Ancient Tree Hunt, a living history project to find and record statistics on Britain’s ancient trees.
Planting trees is one of the easiest and most effective methods of neutralising your carbon footprint. During the life-time of one broadleaf tree, it will absorb approximately 1 tonne of Co2 as well as using it to produce oxygen and make wood. If you are interested in planting a tree, there are many schemes through which you can do so, but a good place to start or to find out more would be the Woodland Trust.
The Woodland Trust
Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity which cares for more than 50,000 acres of woodland across the UK. Its four main aims are:
- To protect Britain’s ancient woodland from any further loss
- To restore and improve the biodiversity of woods
- To Increasing new native woodland
- To increasing the enjoyment and understanding of woodland.