A SCHOOL near Tenbury Wells has turned an area of its site into a haven for wildlife and an outdoor learning space, planting hundreds of trees to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Abberley Hall School received 400 trees from the Woodland Trust as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme and, over the last three weeks, children from the age of four have been helping to plant them.
Mike Raven, the school’s head of outdoor education, said: “We wanted to join in with the Green Canopy scheme to celebrate the Queen, but there is more to it than that – this is a multi-faceted project for us.
“The scheme is great for teaching outside the classroom, which is a key part of our ethos at Abberley Hall.
“We see outdoor teaching not as something that we tokenistically tag on to our curriculum, but as being every bit as important as what our pupils learn in the classroom.
“We already have a lot of mixed woodland on the campus which this will add to. We had a field at the bottom of the campus next to a lake available and agreed with the estates manager that we could use that.”
Trees planted as part of the scheme included willow, rowan, oak, wild cherry and hawthorn.
Mr Raven added: “The oak will tolerate the heavy, clay soil that we have here, but that is obviously a slow-growing tree, so we also have some fast growing species like willow, which we can use to teach weaving, wild cherry, which will provide fruit for birds and which we can also use for timber for fencing and making dens.”
He added the hawthorn was good for voles and mice and the rowan would attract butterflies.
“We have the benefit of both growing raw materials for projects and attracting wildlife, which the pupils can learn about.”
The saplings have also led to a second project called the Jubilee Wood which has been planted with species including hazel, blackthorn, crab apple, elder and dog rose to attract foraging wildlife and pollinators.
Mr Raven said: “This will be a real asset – the scientists among us will look at it and see it as a great carbon store while others, like me, will be looking at it as habitat for wildlife.
“It has been a really fulfilling experience getting the saplings in the ground, with all of our age groups joining in, and we’re now looking forward to taking care of them, watching them grow and using them as a great learning space.”