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Over 100 school pupils from Glasgow and Callander visited Forestry Commission Scotland’s Loch Katrine site last week (2 + 3 March) in a bid to plant 2000 trees in two days.
Pupils from Cleveden Secondary School, All Saints and John Paul Academies (Glasgow) were joined by pupils from McLaren High (Callander) to plant Scots pine and birch seedlings over some 20,000 square meters!
The tree planting exercise, which will help to establish The Great Trossachs Forest, was also a celebration of the success of Eco Schools Scotland, which last year awarded its 1000th green flag.
Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, said:
“Getting pupils involved in planting trees is a great way for them to connect with the area and make a contribution to the vitality and richness of our natural environment.
“They will also have developed a sense of ownership of the woodland they planted, woodland that will ultimately be part of The Great Trossachs Forest – Scotland’s largest native woodland restoration project.
“In years to come it will become a fantastic leisure, recreation and tourism resource and it’s great that these schools have played such an active part.”
Since hitting the 1000 mark last year, Eco-Schools Scotland has awarded a further 190 Green flags, helping to secure Scotland’s place as one of the world's leading countries in the Eco-Schools programme. Over 98% of local authority schools are registered in the environmental education programme.
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell, said:
“The Eco Schools programme is making huge strides in taking the curriculum outdoors, providing our young people new experiences that help them to embrace learning in a new way. It is also encouraging a healthy respect for our shared environment.
“Taking part in this celebratory tree planting complemented the whole eco schools ethos and brought home the fact that the health, wealth and happiness of our communities – and indeed of us as individuals – is tied up with that of our landscape and environment.”
As well as helping with planting and learning about woodland management, the pupils heard how their efforts will help the environmental work being done in the wider Loch Katrine area and the benefits the new woodland will bring.
The event was also part of a wider initiative funded by Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a suite of educational resources linked to the Curriculum of Excellence. This includes a series of films that will include footage of the schools' planting efforts over the two days.
The Great Trossachs Forest, which will eventually cover an area of 16,650 hectares, is the jewel in the crown of the Scottish Forest Alliance – a collaboration involving Forestry Commission Scotland, neighbouring land managers RSPB Scotland and Woodland Trust Scotland and part funded by BP.
If you would like to know more about The Great Trossachs Forest visit www.scottishforestalliance.org.uk/our-sites/the-great-trossachs-forest
For more information about Eco Schools Scotland visit www.scoschoolsscotland.org
Notes to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 660,000 hectare national forest estate. The Commission’s woodlands are making a difference to the well being of Scotland’s people and their communities. Local woodlands act as a catalyst for communities to meet up, get involved with projects and volunteering, or simply enjoy the many walking trails, bike rides and peace and quiet that forests and woodlands can offer. By developing more woodlands, especially near towns and cities, woodlands can also improve healthier lifestyles and bring a boost to urban development across Scotland. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2) Over the 200 year lifetime of The Great Trossachs Forest Project, the landscape will be transformed, returning heavily grazed land and plantation forestry to a more natural mix of habitats, including areas of moorland, montane scrub, wetland and pasture.
3) St Joseph's Primary in Milngavie received the 1,000th Green Flag award on May 26 2010. Nearly one third of local authority Scottish schools have now achieved a Green Flag, for which schools must demonstrate an outstanding, pupil-led commitment to sustainability, across the whole school community and through pupils' learning.
4) In 2010/11 the Scottish Government has provided funding of £425,000 to Eco Schools Scotland. Almost 40 per cent of Scotland’s schools now enjoy Green Flag status.
5) The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage though innovative investment in projects with a lasting impact on people and places. The largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, it has around £205million a year to invest in new projects and is a leading advocate for the value of heritage to modern life. HLF has supported more than 30,000 projects allocating £4.5billion across the UK. http://www.hlf.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx