8 March 2016
Local schools are being asked to help give a new lease of life to the Woodland Trust’s Smithills Estate, and at the same time enjoy the benefits of outdoor learning.
A new scheme will see pupils grow their own saplings in ‘tree nurseries’, and eventually plant them out on the estate to help increase woodland cover.
The Woodland Trust’s Mark Gordon said: “We know that planting a tree is a memory children can treasure for years to come. It helps them feel they are ‘doing their bit’ to help the environment. And research shows having the opportunity to learn in natural environments gets students excited about learning.”
Six schools are needed to take part to host tree nurseries and look after saplings, and later in the year take part seed gathering sessions from trees at Smithills.
The Trust has partnered with City of Trees to work with schools in the Bolton area. City of Trees will offer training to teachers and help them integrate the project into the curriculum, and the project is particularly interested in hearing from primary schools.
Lucy Holland, from the City of Trees team comments; “This is a fantastic initiative that will connect children with the nature right on their doorstep. The idea is that pupils will get to see the life-cycle of the tree – from seed to sapling, before it’s planted in the ground to mature”.
She adds “We are urging local schools to get in touch if they are interested in being part of this exciting new project.”
The Woodland Trust has free curriculum linked resources to support primary school teachers available on its website. 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.