Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Young conservationists plant the next generation of trees

Posted: March 4, 2024 at 09:00 am

Calling all budding nature enthusiasts!

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, recently welcomed over 70 enthusiastic pupils from Cam Everlands Primary School, Dursley, for a special tree-planting day. This wasn't just any planting activity; these students were contributing to the exciting Silk Wood Community Planting Project, a crucial initiative to restore a beloved area of the arboretum.

Restoring a Legacy, Together

The Silk Wood project tackles the challenge of ash dieback, a disease that necessitated the removal of trees in 2021. But instead of relying solely on professionals, Westonbirt is taking a unique approach: engaging over 1,000 individuals from the community in the replanting process. This project aims to plant 9,000 trees over three years, creating a vibrant "community woodland" accessible to all.

Children planting trees in Silk Wood

Young Minds, Big Impact

Cam Everlands Primary School wasn't alone in contributing their green thumbs. Westonbirt has partnered with 8 local schools, inviting students to participate in the design phase. The winning design, by 11-year-old Emily Fletcher from Cam Everlands, is being incorporated into the final plan.

Child sharing their winning forest design

Nature's Classroom: Learning & Growing

"We were delighted to see the pupils from Cam Everlands having so much fun planting trees," shared Oscar Adams, Project Manager at Westonbirt, whose role is funded by The Friends. "This project excites young people about trees, woodland management, and conservation, securing the future for Westonbirt."

Children planting trees in Silk Wood

Dominic Knill, Head Teacher of Cam Everlands, echoed this sentiment: "Today offered a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to be part of something bigger. They learned about the importance of replacing lost trees, and hopefully, they can return in the future to see their contribution flourish."

A Diverse and Inclusive Approach

Westonbirt is committed to fostering inclusivity in this project. They aim to involve young people, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with neurodiverse conditions, and people from diverse ethnicities. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of ownership and connection to the local environment.

Children planting trees in Silk Wood

Planting for the Future

The carefully selected tree species, sourced from Forestry England's Delamere Nursery, prioritise climate and disease resilience. Native species like field maple, small-leaved lime, and oak are being planted alongside mature trees, creating a diverse and thriving ecosystem.

Children planting trees in Silk Wood

Become a Part of the Legacy

This project exemplifies Westonbirt's vision of connecting people with trees and improving lives through education, conservation, and participation. While the project is ongoing, the first phase of planting has begun.

Support projects like this!

Every membership and donation helps care for Westonbirt’s tree collection, empowers community engagement and contributes to the future of the arboretum. Donate today

Find out more about this project