Local schoolchildren have played their part in growing the trees of tomorrow by collecting acorns from oak trees growing in the grounds of the Powis Estate, Welshpool.
The acorns gathered by the children will be grown into seedlings ready for planting in two years time in woodlands managed by Forestry Commission Wales.
Twenty one children, aged 9-11 years, from Ysgol Maesydre, Welshpool collected acorns from the forest floor. They had been dropped by sessile oak trees, a tree that grows up to 40 metres tall and is native to most of Europe.
The acorns were placed in sacks ready to be taken to the Forestry Commission nursery at Delamere, Cheshire where they will be stored before being sown next spring.
After developing into seedlings, they will be allowed to grow on at the nursery for two years before being planted out by Forestry Commission Wales in woodlands owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Matthew Park, Forestry Commission Wales said, "By planting the oak trees grown from these acorns we will be able to restore our native and ancient woodlands and preserve the special landscape character of Wales.
"We are very fortunate to have been given access to the sessile oaks at the Powis Estate which were planted in the mid 1800s and nurtured by them since then. As their provenance is known, these trees are a registered seed stand producing acorns suitable for propagation.
"It was also a fun way of kicking off the tree-planting season and I look forward to planting the young oak trees grown from these acorns in two years time."
The Woodlands for Learning team’s Education Officer, Kate Elias, led the event and gave the children an outdoor science lesson as they collected the acorns. They also each received an oak sapling to plant at home and a Forestry Commission Wales goodie bag to reward them for their hard work.
The children learnt that acorns are seeds and that those they collected will soon develop into saplings – just like the one they received - which will then grow into mature trees like the ones from which they collected acorn.
Kate said, "Learning about the life-cycle of a tree first-hand in an outdoor environment, rather than in the classroom from books and pictures, brought the subject alive for the children.
"They were also proud to play their part in creating the forests of the future."
Forestry Commission Wales is expecting to plant over 200,000 sessile oaks this coming winter, some 6% of the total number of trees planted, compared with ten years when these trees made up only 0.5% of the number planted.
The increase in the number of sessile oaks that are planted is linked to Forestry Commission Wales’s corporate programme to restore native woodlands. In particular, plantations on ancient woodland sites (known as PAWS) are being restored with native trees like sessile oak planted in place of non-native species.
Picture caption: Arron Knight at the acorn collection
NOTES TO EDITORS
Forestry Commission Wales
About 14 per cent 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.
Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to other woodland owners and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.
Forestry Commission Wales is also part of Forestry Commission GB and contributes to the international forestry agenda.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Mary Galliers, email@example.com, tel: 0300 068 0057