All the children in the Nursery and Pre-Prep (aged 3-7) at Westbourne House School, Chichester have planted 105 saplings, kindly donated by The Woodland Trust, to create a woodland the size of half a junior football pitch.
The school is working hard to teach the pupils to think about their impact on the environment and how they can have a positive influence, even at a young age.
Caroline Oglethorpe, Westbourne House School Head of Pre-Prep, said: “At Westbourne House School we are keen to empower our children to create the world they want to live in and encourage others to do the same. It was so lovely to see the children’s faces light up as they planted each tree.”
A great number of children at Westbourne House School are passionate about environmental issues. Planning the new woodland and planting the trees is another strand of the school’s eco-plan which includes supporting local wildlife, setting up a whole school environment committee, beach cleans, allotment gardening and recycling initiatives.
In spring 2020 the pupils will also be planting wild flowers adjacent to the new woodland site as part of a pan-European pollination project to create even more opportunities for the wildlife to flourish.
Speaking at the event, Sarah Cunliffe, wildlife filmmaker at Sussex-based Big Wave Productions, said: “I am so proud of all the children. We are at a crucial tipping point in the battle against climate change and the time to act is now. To limit the global rise in temperatures to 2 degrees we need emissions to peak before 2030 to avoid irreversible climate change effect. What is happening here - planting trees - is a fantastic example of how we can all make change and reduce our carbon footprint. We all need to do more.”
Chichester Conservative candidate Gillian Keegan was also there to encourage the children. She said: “It was fantastic to be able to join the Year 1 children at Westbourne House and help them plant some of the 105 new trees. This is part of a brilliant initiative with the Woodland Trust who donated the saplings in a variety of species carefully chosen to provide a natural habitat for wildlife.
“It was lovely to see the level of excitement on the children’s faces, and read a letter they wrote to the trees where they thanked them for all they do; to prevent flooding, clean our air by removing carbon dioxide and improve biodiversity. As they move through the school the children will watch these trees grow, along with the other 30 million we will plant across the UK by 2025.”