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The head of Forestry Commission Wales returned to the Anglesey school he left 30 years ago to officially open a new woodland planted by today’s pupils.
FC Wales Director Trefor Owen went back to Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones in Amlwch on Wednesday, 16 May, to launch the sixth Plant! site in Wales.
Plant! is a Welsh Government project which aims to create a Welsh National Forest by planting a tree for every child born in Wales since 1 January 2008.
Local MP Albert Owen was among dignitaries who joined all the pupils from Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones and members of the Anglesey Age Well Centre when they planted 10,500 trees during a week in December.
The new woodland is called Coed y Felin (Wood by the Mill, in recognition of the mill beside the school) and was named by pupils Llinos Evans and her brother Llyr, who won a school competition.
It has been planted on 4.2 hectares (10 acres) of land which backs on to the school and is owned by Anglesey Council’s education department.
At the official opening this week, Trefor joined representatives of the school’s ECO committee as they took part in green wood working and willow weaving to demonstrate some of the rural industry woodland has to offer.
He said, “It feels great to come back to my old school, especially on an occasion such as this.
“I’m delighted that the school was selected as a Plant! site. The young people will be able to play an active role in managing this new woodland as it grows and, in so doing, learn about all the benefits that planting trees can bring.”
North-east Anglesey has relatively little woodland, so it’s hoped Coed y Felin will become a welcome place for recreation, as well as providing valuable shelter and habitat for wildlife and an area for outdoor education.
Members of the FC Wales Woodlands for Learning team helped the children during the planting, which was supervised by Simon Hunt of Coed Cymru, who chairs the Ynys Mon Forest Education Initiative (FEI) cluster group and now manages the site.
The creation of Coed y Felin is being used to fulfil elements of the pupils’ Welsh Baccalaureate qualification.
Year 10 used the planting as part of their awareness of the importance of sustainability, as well as taking the opportunity to gain hours for their community participation element of the Welsh Bacc.
Meanwhile, the Year 12s developed ideas including footpaths, a bike trail, benches and interpretation materials to encourage people to visit the woodland as part of their enterprise activity for the Welsh Bacc.
Plant! was launched in December 2007 and, as well as helping to fight climate change by creating a carbon sink, seeks to give children and young people a sense of ownership of the natural environment.
The project 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.
It is being delivered on the Welsh Government’s behalf by Forestry Commission Wales, in partnership with Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust).
The other Plant! sites are in Coed Ysgubor Wen near Tywyn, at Coed Bryn Oer, near Tredegar, Cefn Ila, near Usk, at Caia Park, Wrexham and at Coedwig y Plant, Cwm Garw, near Bridgend.
Caption: Forestry Commission Wales Director Trefor Owen is pictured (second right) at the opening of the new woodland with, left to right, Anglesey County Councillor Dylan Jones, young mum Nicola Stretton and seven-month-old Benjamin Sayle, Headteacher Emyr Williams and Robert Llewelyn Jones, Chair of Anglesey County Council.
NOTES TO EDITORS
A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
The Forestry Commission Wales Woodlands for Learning 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.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Visit News at FC Wales for news, images, press office contact details and links to case studies.
Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email email@example.com