Tree planting scheme takes root in Redbridge

Hundreds of green-fingered school children joined forces with Redbridge Council for a special tree planting project for National Tree Week.

As part of National Tree Week (November 27 – December 5) Redbridge Council kick started its Schools Tree Planting initiative at Coppice Primary School in Hainault, and Woodbridge High School in Woodford Green.

The initiative is part of efforts to increase tree coverage in the borough and give school children hands-on experience in planting and caring for trees, while learning about the importance of trees and greenery in helping tackle climate change.

Just over 500 school children took part in the council led planting event which saw 45 trees, including fruit trees, planted by school children across the two school sites – helping boost the borough’s green canopy cover.

During the event, eco-minded pupils learnt about the important environmental and health benefits trees bring, including helping clean up the air we breathe, provide shade and create natural habitats for wildlife.

Woodbridge High School pupil, Elif said: “I learnt how important trees are to the earth and humans. I had a fun, eventful and educational day and I am proud to know that the tree we planted will be there for many years.”

Fellow Woodbridge pupil, Iva, added: “I loved planting the trees. The best thing was learning more about the importance of trees in tackling the climate crisis”

And it wasn’t just the school children getting involved to help mark National Tree Week in the borough. Among those lending a hand at the Schools Tree Planting session at Coppice Primary School was the leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Jas Athwal, deputy leader Cllr Kam Rai, and Mayor of Redbridge, Cllr Roy Emmett.

Cllr Athwal, said: “It was wonderful to join pupils at Coppice Primary School this morning for a tree planting session as part of National Tree Week.

“Today, 500 children from across Redbridge have planted a total of 45 trees as part of the Queen’s Canopy Project, sprucing up our borough and making it an even greener and cleaner place to live.

“It is fantastic to see children enthusiastic about their local environment, and enjoying learning about the role that trees and plants play in keeping our air clean, and supporting local wildlife.” 

Cllr Rai, said: “The role of the natural environment in tackling climate change is incredibly important. Our Schools Tree Planting initiative is an extension of our on-going work with local communities to tackle the climate emergency, improve air quality and create a greener, and more biodiverse borough to live, work and socialise in. It’s also important to educate our children and young people about climate change to empower them to play an active part in shaping a greener future, and our School Tree Planting initiative is great example of this in action.”

Headteacher of Coppice Primary School, Michael Fernandez, added: “It has been an amazing experience for our entire school as children from nursery all the way through to year 6 have had the chance to be part of planting our new orchard. We feel very fortunate that our existing nature garden has now been extended to include apple, pear and plum trees.

The Schools Tree Planting initiative is financed through the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy fund.

The tree planting sessions at the two schools will also be registered under the Queen’s Green Canopy project, which is inviting everyone across the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 by planting a tree. Find out more: www.queensgreencanopy.org/get-involved/individuals/

Redbridge council maintains 128 hectares of woodland in Redbridge, in addition to 40,000 trees on council sites across the borough.

Redbridge is also one of only 120 locations across the world last year to be awarded ‘Tree Cities of the World’ status. The coveted designation from The Arbor Day Foundation, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is awarded to cities showing their commitment to trees and urban forestry.

Residents keen to get involved with National Tree Week are being invited to grab a spade and join a planting day at Hainault Forest on Saturday December 4, 10.00am – 2.00pm, Hainault Forest, Romford, IG7 4QN.

The event is part of the Woodland Trust’s expansion of Hainault Forest with a new extension that will see 24,000 trees being planted in the eastern reaches of the forest. The new extension will be part of the Queen’s Green Canopy Woodlands as well as part of the Woodland Trust’s Big Climate Fightback. For more information, or to get involved go to: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/things-to-do/events/community-tree-planting-at-hainault-forest/

Find out about greening projects in Redbridge, and how you can help tackle climate change, by joining Redbridge’s next Climate Change Forum on Wednesday 1 December, between 6:30 – 8pm. To join the forum go to: https://engagement.redbridge.gov.uk/strategy/95390866/

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]