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Over 400 children from three Wrexham schools joined forces to help plant a new community woodland on a local housing estate.
The new woodland will create a “green lung” on Wrexham’s Caia Park housing estate and will be the first Plant! site in North Wales.
Launched in December 2007, Plant! is a Welsh Assembly Government project which seeks to give children and young people a sense of ownership of the natural environment.
The project, which now has five sites throughout Wales, also aims to encourage them and their families to enjoy the outdoors and learn a range of skills, as well as improving their physical and mental health.
Community groups and children aged from three to 11 years old from Hafod Y Wern School, St Anne’s RC Primary School and Caia Park Nursery rolled up their sleeves to help create what will be the largest area of urban woodland in north Wales.
They planted broadleaved trees and shrubs such as oak, ash, hazel and willow on a 3.05 hectares (7.5 acres) site which was once used for landfill before being capped in the 1970s.
Plant! Project Manager Lajla Cash said, “Planting more trees will help us to tackle climate change and provide other benefits, both now and in the future.”
Joseph Maloney, from St Anne’s RC School, won a competition with his suggestion of Caia Community Wood as a name for the new woodland, which will have seven areas linked by footpaths, all named by local schools.
The Plant! scheme is being delivered on the Welsh Assembly Government’s behalf by Forestry Commission Wales, in partnership with Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust).
It is a commitment in the One Wales programme as part of the Assembly’s drive to achieve a sustainable environment.
By planting more trees, the Assembly Government aims to create a Welsh National Forest which will help to fight climate change as the trees will act as a carbon sink.
Sharon Daltrey, head teacher at St Anne’s RC School, said, “The children have really enjoyed the whole experience. From coming up with a name for the area to planting the trees themselves, they have been excited to be part of this worthwhile community project.”
The site is owned and managed by Wrexham County Borough Council.
The other Plant! sites are located in Coed Ysgubor Wen near Tywyn, at Coed Bryn Oer, near Tredegar, Cefn Ila, near Usk and the soon-to-be launched Coedwig y Plant, Cwm Garw, near Bridgend.
1. FC Wales Education Officer Kate Thomson helps a pupil from Caia Park Nursery to plant a tree
2. Keri Hargest of Wrexham County Borough Council plants trees with pupils from St Anne's RC Primary School.
3. Pupils and headmaster from Hafod-y-Wern School plant native broadleaves at Caia Park.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About 14% of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
The original idea behind Plant! came from Cardiff schoolgirl Natalie Vaughan. Natalie wrote to her Assembly Member, Sue Essex, suggesting that planting a tree for every child born would be a good way to make young people think about their environment and the role they have in preserving it.
The Assembly Government expects to plant around 32,000 new trees each year - enough to cover about 44 rugby pitches.
The Forestry Commission Wales Woodlands for Learning team manages Plant! on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government. The team delivers woodland-based learning experiences throughout Wales, supports the development and delivery of Forest School and facilitates the Forest Education Initiative on behalf of its partners.
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