20th March 2020 — On Tuesday 17 March, Danes Hill School pupils planted over 300 trees, the remaining trees will be planted later in the year. Every child in Year 2 and Year 3 planted a sapling, assisted by older pupils from the school’s very active Eco-Committee, which recently won a Bronze Eco-Schools Award.
All of the trees were donated by the Woodland Trust, which is working in partnership with Defra and various independent companies to plant 2.2 million trees in schools and educational establishments in the UK over the next four years. The trees were a mixture of native wild wood, year-round colour and copse varieties, such as silver birch, rowan, wild cherry, hawthorn, hazel and goat willow, and were hand planted in the school’s 55-acre grounds.
“This is an important day for our pupils as they will contribute positively to their environment and have an experience which they will remember into adulthood,” said Headmaster, Willie Murdock. “Enriching our natural space is very close to our hearts at Danes Hill; through outdoor learning in the most beautiful natural environment, our pupils connect with nature and make discoveries in memorable ways. And they also have a great deal of fun.”
To enhance and develop their knowledge, pupils also had lessons on the impact of trees. They also learnt about how trees disperse their seeds, tree identification, clean air quality, habitat for other species, as well as woodland wildlife and flowers, and of course the uses of different types of wood. Many of these lessons took place outside, where children also participated in leaf and bark rubbing and art activities, such as making leaf crowns and leaf masks.
As the school’s recent inspection found, the pupils at Danes Hill School ‘develop a natural awe and wonder for the world through the woodland learning environment’ - a sentiment supported by Ella Sisson in Year 3: “I really enjoyed planting a tree because I love learning outside,” she commented. “It was be a bit muddy, but I know we helped the planet.”