Darwen schoolchildren ‘branch out’ to help tackle climate change

Published Wednesday 2 February 2022 at 10:40

Pupils at a Darwen primary school have helped plant more than 240 trees as part of a new scheme to create more woodland and help tackle climate change.

The children at Avondale Primary School were some of the first from Blackburn with Darwen to take part in the new Pennine Lancashire initiative with the Ribble Rivers Trust.

Supported by Blackburn with Darwen Council and funded by the Forestry Commission’s Local Authority Treescapes Fund, the PlanT project will see more than 4,000 trees planted on school grounds across Lancashire – with 12 schools taking part in the borough.

Showing their support, Councillor Zainab Rawat, the council’s Assistant Executive Member for Growth and Development, and ward councillor and school governor, Councillor Brian Taylor visited the children as they planted a selection of native trees around the perimeter of their school field in Avondale Road.

Councillor Rawat said:

It was fantastic to see so many young children really enthusiastic about climate change and wanting to do something to really help make a difference.

They were enjoying being outdoors and getting stuck in – digging the holes, planting the saplings and making sure they were protected so they can thrive in the coming months and years while they get established.

They worked really hard and managed to plant more than 240 trees in just one day which is just brilliant. They also had the chance to learn about the benefit that trees bring to wildlife and people which is also incredibly important.

The best part is that the children will be able to watch the new trees grow, both during their remaining time at school and for many years to come.

In total, 242 trees were planted on the school field including Oak trees, Willows, Wild Cherry, Silver Birch, Crab Apple, Rowan and more.

The scheme is linked to the council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan which sets out the local authority’s ambition of being carbon neutral by 2030.

One of the key priorities in the action plan is to store carbon naturally by increasing tree cover, protecting soils and enhancing natural habitats.

As part of that work, the authority bid for funding for the new trees alongside councils from across Pennine Lancashire.

Councillor Rawat added:

This is going to be a big year for the Council as we really step-up our work to help tackle climate change, but we know we can’t do it alone.

We need the support of our residents and businesses and where better to start than by educating our children in schools across the borough – they are our future.

Children from year five at Avondale as well as the School Council and Eco Council all joined in with the tree planting on Thursday (January 20th) with experts from the Ribble Rivers Trust.

Their proud head teacher, Vicky Brown said:

We were really pleased to be one of the first schools in the borough to take part in this important new project.

We hope that the new trees will help form a woodland path around the edge of our school field which we can use to help teach our children about nature, wildlife and climate change.

The pupils all worked so hard and loved coming back to school full of mud and feeling really accomplished at just how many new trees they had managed to plant – they really did do a great job.

We will also be adding fruit trees to our school garden so there’s fruit harvesting to look forward to too in the coming months and years.

We’d really appreciate the support of residents living close to the school field to help keep a close eye on the children’s handiwork – making sure we give them the trees the best chance possible.

Trees help to combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, removing and storing carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air.

They are great habitats for wildlife too and can help reduce flooding.

Jack Spees, Chief Executive of Ribble Rivers Trust said:

The PLanT project is fantastic, bringing together so many partners and community groups to deliver real positive change now and in the future.

Many of the children have never planted a tree, and don’t realise that there are things they can do on their doorstep to improve nature and tackle climate change.

We look forward to continuing our work with the PLanT projects over coming months to deliver more!

To find out more about the Council’s Climate Emergency, please visit: www.blackburn.gov.uk and search ‘Climate Change.’

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