Young Eco Warriors: Acresfield

Project Location: Upton, Cheshire
Start Date: Spring 2015
Est. completion Date: Summer 2015

Young eco warriors are championing the cause for trees at Acresfield Community Primary School. Set in beautiful Cheshire countryside, the school is surrounded by fields and the children here are encouraged to have green fingers and get involved in the great outdoors. With an emphasis on playing outside, the school have Eco and Gardening Clubs to create a wonderful outdoor learning environment where the children can play, climb, identify trees, watch wildlife and explore the woodlands.

ITF are supporting a project to plant 50 indigenous trees to help the school increase its woodland. Not only will the children help plant the new trees, but they will also care for them in the future. This will be brilliant for showing these young scientists how trees grow, flower, and seed and to investigate what animals and insects use the trees.

A lovely element of this project is the creation of a quiet area which Bursar, Jacky Blaikie said will be for “pupils to build and develop friendships and have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on aspects of their lives and learning.” By providing this connection with nature, the project fosters an appreciation of trees from a young age, and encourages the use of green space for human well-being, social cohesion and inclusion.

Important work will be carried out by the budding arborists of Acresfield Primary to include tree planting, leaf identification, measuring the height, finding out the age of the trees and how to care for them by watering and weeding. As well as the valuable scientific work, the children will have the chance to unleash their creativity by exploring natural art such as bark rubbing, making Christmas decorations from pine cones, building willow domes and decorating trees.

A choice of indigenous trees to complement the surrounding landscape have been chosen including scot’s pine, hazel and whitebeam to teach the children about native trees and to attract wildlife to the school grounds such as birds and insects. The project has wider aims too, linking in with the Cheshire West & Chester Local Development Framework to increase biodiversity, enhance the local landscape and improve open spaces. The next generation of green ambassadors is ready in the wings to take on this duty.

Tree Profile:

The Scot’s pine (Pinus sylvestris) can be found throughout Britain but is best known for its presence in the Caledonian Forest of the Scottish Highlands, the last remaining native pine forest on these Isles.  Reaching up to a height of 36m with a lifespan of over 300 years, this is an impressive tree, creating stunning conifer forests and offers a home to a variety of wildlife. As a monoecious tree, the female and male flowers both grow on the same tree. Once the female flowers have been pollinated, they develop into cones which are egg shaped with woody scales.

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