Bolton schools help new trees take root

30 January 2017

City of Trees worked with over 400 pupils in seven different schools, planting 644 trees as part of the Woodland Trust’s ongoing work on the Smithills Estate.

The Trust partnered with City of Trees to work with schools in the Bolton area, helping connect children to the trees, woods and wildlife on their doorstep.

The scheme started in October last year when pupils came onto the Smithills Estate to take part in seed gathering activities. The foraged seeds were then taken back to the school to grow in specially provided growing kits, alongside the creation of tree nurseries to host the new saplings.

Russell Hedley, Smithill’s Communications Officer, Woodland Trust: “A big part of the Smithills project is about the effect trees and woods can have to the wider environment. In this example, we are extremely proud of these future trees collected at Smithills as seeds. They will go on to provide habitats for wildlife, respite for the community and education for the next generation both at Lady Mabel’s Wood and at schools across the region.”

Beth Kelsall, City of Trees comments; “The seed gathering was all about providing knowledge of where trees come from, enabling children to have a better understanding of the tree life cycle from seed to sapling.”

Some schools opted to keep the trees in their nursey to be used for outdoor education activities, whilst the rest were planted out on site at Lady Mabel’s Wood on the Wigan/Bolton border.

The project enabled many of the pupils to plant a tree for the first time, offering an invaluable opportunity for the children to access the outdoors and connect with the environment.

As part of the project City of Trees also helped train school staff on how they could utilise the outdoors in their lessons to teach the curriculum with a host of resources and worksheets.

Steeped in history and shadowed by the famous Winter Hill TV mast, the 1,700 acre Smithills Estate is managed by the Woodland Trust, with long term plans to restore it, and create a sustainable landscape that’s good for people, and wildlife.

The charity plans to improve public access, double the number of trees and add visitor signs about the site’s industrial heritage.