Story from Trees for Cities:
Ealing pupils of all ages came together yesterday to learn about the importance of trees in tackling air pollution in the borough, and to help plant 2 new trees outside one of the boroughs biggest high schools.
The new trees, which were planted yesterday outside Featherstone High School on Montague Waye with national charity Trees for Cities, aim to protect local families and children from air and noise pollution; whilst demonstrating the positive impact quality green spaces can have on the health and wellbeing of urban communities.
Pupils from Greenfields Nursery, Clifton Primary School and Featherstone High School leant how to plant an urban tree; from planting and adding soil and mulch, to watering and maintenance to ensure the new tree thrives in its new environment. Armed with mini shovels and protective gloves, the children – who ranged in age from 3 to 16 – rolled up their sleeves and enjoyed a hands-on experience of planting their first tree.
Raksha Savadia, a teacher at Greenfield Nursery said of the day: “The children have absolutely loved being part of this and getting stuck in with planting a tree. At Greenfields we are very focused on providing children with experiential lessons where they can learn through hands-on activities, so this has been great for expanding their knowledge and understanding of trees and plants.”
For children from Clifton Primary, the planting experience was a chance for pupils to get up close to nature. For a school of over 500, the school grounds have limited outdoor playground space and no green areas for pupils to connect and learn about trees and wildlife.
Of the planting experience, Armanpreet from Clifton said: “Putting the soil in was hard work and dirty but I liked it”, which fellow student Prabneet echoed this excitement: “It was a really fun experience. Hopefully the tree will grow as big as a bus!”
Students from year 12 at Featherstone High School joined in with the tree planting workshops; engaging with the younger children and learning about the impact they will have outside their school. Head boy, Rayyan said: “It has been a blast helping plant these trees with the other kids and it feels great making a contribution to society”, and fellow student Shabina agreed: “It was so nice to help the little children with planting the trees and It has given me a renewed feeling of responsibility to help out more in my community.”
The project is part of a UK-wide initiative, developed by Trees for Cities in partnership with New World Payphones. New World Payphones is replacing ageing phone boxes with touch-screen kiosks that combine Wi-Fi, interactive maps and payphone services.
Karen Rankin, Head of Portfolios and Partnerships at Clear Channel UK – who lead New World Payphones – Said: “We’re thrilled to be continuing our work of helping to green Ealing with these new trees. We believe it is essential to play an active role in helping improve the environment of the areas we operate in. We’re delighted to join our charity partners Trees for Cities for a second year to leave a lasting legacy for the people of the borough.”
For every phone box upgraded, a new tree will be planted, with a nationwide total of at least 500. Trees for Cities will maintain the trees for three years before training staff at New World Payphones, who will then take over their care.
David Elliott, CEO at Trees for Cities, said: “Trees are one of the most vital elements of liveable and healthy cities, but our cities’ tree stocks face multiple risks and threats. Their futures are integrally tied to the actions of the business sector. We are delighted to partner with New World Payphones once again this year and continue to transformational our urban landscapes together for the benefit of generations to come.”
This planting season – running till the start of April – the project will plant more than 150 street trees across London and in cities that span the country.