To celebrate National Tree Week, we have been encouraging pupils in the Trout Beck area to put down their pens and pick up a spade to plant trees by their local river.
Thanks to funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, primary school pupils from Long Marton and Kirkby Thore have been learning about why trees are tree-mendous.
In a classroom session run by our Learning Officer, Tania Crockett, pupils looked at how water moves in the Trout Beck catchment, what makes rivers healthy … and unhealthy (!) and the effect this can have on the wildlife that depends on the river.
The pupils then explored how trees are great for rivers and wildlife. Planted in buffer strips (fenced off areas near the river), trees slow the flow of surface water, and absorb rainwater, reducing the amount that reaches the river. They also provide valuable habitat for wildlife, reduce pollution and strengthen riverbanks.
Following these sessions, last week a total of 85 pupils from both schools joined our staff, volunteers and the local community to put what they’ve learnt into practice by planting 450 trees along buffer strips created along watercourses near their schools.
Neal Banner, Headteacher, Kirkby Thore Primary School said:
“We are really pleased to be involved in this project. It is a fantastic opportunity for our children to understand how to improve their local area. We will continue to work with Eden Rivers Trust over the next few years, allowing the children to follow the project through and see the positive effects of their work.
Projects like this are really important to us at Kirkby Thore as it helps our children appreciate the local environment in which they live and to understand the many ways in which we can work together to improve the future. Seeing so many volunteers here today is a fantastic example of a community working together.”
Jenny Garbe, Eden Rivers Trust Conservation Officer and manager of the Trout Beck habitat improvement project said:
“We are working with several forward-thinking landowners in the Trout Beck catchment that can see both the farm and the environmental benefits that can be gained from putting in features that protect rivers. They’re supportive of the local community being involved in the projects as well.
“We’re delighted at the response to our call for schools and local volunteers to pick up a spade and help make their local river a healthier place for wildlife to thrive.”
We don’t just plant trees for National Tree Week though, this is just the start of our winter planting programme. Check out our Things to Do page for details of the next tree planting event, and plant some trees for our rivers – they’ll thank you for it!