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Children from three schools left their classrooms behind to celebrate the second anniversary of a woodland which was created as part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s aim to plant a tree for every new baby and adopted child in Wales.
The pupils visited Coed Ysgubor Wen near Tywyn for a summer activity day organised by Forestry Commission Wales education officer Leigh Denyer with help from Hannah Mitchell.
The children, from Ysgol Pen y Bryn, Ysgol Llanegryn and Ysgol Llwyngwril, took part in green woodworking activities, mini-beast hunts and a tree surgery demonstration.
They tried their hand at wood turning under the watchful eye of Bob Shaw and made brooms, rounders bats, gypsy baskets and wooden flowers to take home.
Tree surgeon James Prior gave the children an insight into the management of older trees and discussed the skills needed for a career in looking after trees.
Coed Ysgubor Wen is managed by the Woodland Trust and is one of three sites in Wales established as part of the Plant! project, which aims to create a Welsh National Forest of native trees for future generations.
The other sites are in south Wales – at Coed Cefn Ila near Usk and at Coed Bryn Oer, near Tredegar.
The Plant! project was launched in December 2007 and aims to give children and young people a sense of ownership of the natural environment and encourage them and their families to enjoy the outdoors and learn a range of skills, as well as improving their physical and mental health.
Planting more trees to create a Welsh National Forest will also help to fight climate change as the trees will act as a carbon sink.
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 Plant! project, which is being delivered on the Welsh Assembly Government's behalf by Forestry Commission Wales in partnership with Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust), is a commitment in the One Wales programme as part of the Assembly Government's drive to achieve a sustainable environment.
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.