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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

ATM help Lord Deramore's School, Heslington, York plant jubilee forest

Safer Highways member play part in creating awareness of sustainability for York school.

EVERY pupil at a York school has helped to plant a Platinum Jubilee Forest.

To mark 70 years of the Queen's reign, pupils at Lord Deramore’s School in Heslington helped to plant trees which will double the size of their existing forest school area.

Frances Lilley, a Year 6 pupil, said: “It was so much fun planting the trees and it’s great to think that people in the future will be able to enjoy them.” Year 6 teacher, Helen Smith, who is spearheading grounds development, said: “Every child has been involved in planting a tree and pupils will be able to watch them grow for many years. When we have raised enough money, the trees will be incorporated into the forest expansion; this will offer many more opportunities for all children, local people and community groups who use this space.” Forest school lessons at Lord Deramore’s are part of every child’s learning from Early Years to Year 6 – a subject which is an integral part of the school curriculum but not Government funded. Forest fires, tree climbing, den building, whittling sticks, forest play, mud kitchen activities and creative tasks such as making charcoal and mud paint are regularly enjoyed by children of all ages. The 36 trees planted by the children were donated by the Environment Agency, whose contractors, ATM, expertly arranged the planting and coordinated the enthusiastic young workforce. The trees form part of a wider project by the Environment Agency, who are committed to replace every tree removed for necessary flood defence work with five new trees. These latest additions will create a fruit orchard and support the school with their forest expansion.

The school have set up a gofundme page to raise funds to replace the old, rotting fence with a much larger one – approximately 180 metres which will incorporate the new trees into the forest school area.

This is not the first time eco-conscious children at the school have been involved in projects to green-up the environment. Last year The Press reported that they helped build a mountain of plastic tree protection guard waste on Kimberlow Hill at the University of York. Over the course of a year, volunteers collected litter on the hill, and plastic tubes which guard tree saplings and piled it into a mountain to generate a bigger conversation about climate change.

The volunteers ranged in age and are from all walks of life, from 81-year-old avid tree planter and Woodland Trust champion Derek Utley, to the 11-year-old schoolchildren at Lord Deramore’s, and students from the University of York, coordinated by Gordon Eastham, the university’s grounds manager, and Miki Storey from environmental charity John Lally International Foundation (JLIF).

The school has also achieved a gold level Hedgehog-Friendly Schools Award after teachers, staff, pupils and students worked tirelessly for the past year to achieve the standards set out by the British Hedgehog Preservation.

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