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A new woodland with a difference is growing on Anglesey – it was designed and planted by school pupils.
Children from Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones Secondary School in Amlwch spent last week (December 5 to 9) planting around 10,500 trees on the woodland, which will become the newest Plant! site when it’s established.
Launched in December 2007, Plant! is a Welsh Government project which seeks to give children and young people a sense of ownership of the natural environment.
The project, which has five other 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.
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 of land which backs on to the school and is owned by Anglesey Council’s education department.
Pupils from Year 12 (aged 17) and Year 10 (aged 16) spent a day with Coed Cymru Officer Simon Hunt, Forestry Commission Wales Education Officer Nicky Maysmor and Plant! Project Officer Lajla Cash learning about the site and the importance of trees to the environment before sharing their knowledge with the whole school.
The children then marked out the woodland area and designed the footpaths, a bike trail, benches and interpretation materials which will be added at a later date.
Last week, the school’s 650 pupils planted between 10 and 20 trees each, accompanied by school staff, during a planting day co-ordinated by teacher Tracey Stretton.
Local MP Albert Owen also came along to lend a hand, along with Coed Cymru Director David Jenkins and Roger Thomas, chief executive of the Countryside Council for Wales.
Nicky said, “Planting the woodland themselves will give the children a real sense of ownership, and planting more trees will help us to tackle climate change as well as provide other benefits both now and in the future.”
Local businesses who supported the initiative were Huws Gray, who supplied wellies at cost price and Charter Services, who supplied waterproofs and embroidered the school's logo on the jackets, free of charge.
The pupils’ involvement in creating the new woodland is being used to fulfil elements of their 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 to encourage people to visit the woodland as part of their enterprise activity for the Welsh Bacc. They then presented their ideas to a Dragon's Den-style panel of local business owners and staff from Menter Mon, who selected the best business plan and ideas in a mock exercise.
The Plant! scheme is being delivered on the Welsh Government’s behalf by Forestry Commission Wales, in partnership with Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust).
By planting more trees, the Welsh Government aims to create a Welsh National Forest which will help to fight climate change as the trees will act as a carbon sink.
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 the soon-to-be launched Coedwig y Plant, Cwm Garw, near Bridgend.
Caption: Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones pupils Thomas Hughes, Rhodri Morgan Hughes and Ifan Hughes plant a tree in their new woodland.
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 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 FCWales 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