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School pupils plant 5,000th tree for community woodland’s 10th anniversary

Friday, 9 March 2018

Trees for Life

Pupils from Henry Bloom Noble Primary School have planted the five-thousandth tree at the Children’s Wood within the Conrhenny Community Woodland in Lonan.

The children were taking part in the 2018 Trees for Life event organised by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA).

The project, now in its tenth year, encourages the Island’s primary school pupils to learn more about trees and their importance to the global environment, before going on to plant one of their own in the expanding community wood.

Each pupil receives a sapling and an activity book that explains five species of deciduous trees native to the Isle of Man – oak, aspen, rowan, alder and birch – as well as their Manx names, how to identify them, and the all-important guide to preparing the ground and planting a tree.

The site at Conrhenny was specially selected for the new wood in 2008 as it’s relatively flat and is sheltered by established conifers on three sides.  The five native trees are hardy and particularly well-suited to the peaty ground.

The tenth anniversary of the project comes as the Isle of Man celebrates ‘2018 Year of Our Island’, which encourages everyone to do more and explore more.

DEFA has continued to build on its partnership with Trees for Life in Scotland where the idea all began in the 1980s. The Dundreggan Estate tree nurseries, near Loch Ness, kindly gifted 23 aspen which were among the trees planted by pupils from Henry Bloom Noble Primary School. The aspen replaced ash this year, due to the continued threat of ash die back disease.

Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, Geoffrey Boot MHK, said:

'Now in its tenth year, Trees for Life continues to be a tremendous success which has seen the development of a unique community woodland, largely planted by school pupils from across the Island. 

'It is an example of just one of the many attributes that saw the Isle of Man awarded the status of Biosphere Region by UNESCO in 2016 and takes forward that legacy through conservation, development and learning.'

Pupils from years 1 and 3 were assisted with planting over 90 trees by the Forestry Team.  Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, Graham Cregeen MHK was on site to help mark the milestone.

He said:

'The children have had a fantastic time planting their trees, all making sure they write their names on the protective sleeves in permanent marker in the hope they can find their tree in years to come.

'Speaking to the pupils and teachers, it is clear that getting out of the class room and being hands-on has really brought the topic to life, helping them connect to the environment and create lasting memories.

'I had the pleasure of attending the start of this project a decade ago.  As you look back up the hill you can see 10 years’ worth of trees, all at different stages of development, as the wood has been added to each year.  It’s a great initiative and a fantastic legacy that thousands of pupils – the Island’s next generation of adults – have had a hand in creating.'

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