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Environment and Sustainable Development Minister John Griffiths has praised children who planted a new community woodland on a local housing estate.
The Minister thanked the youngsters who helped to create Caia Park woodland in Wrexham when he visited the area to officially open the fifth Plant! site in Wales.
Plant! is a Welsh Government project which aims to create a sustainable environment and tackle climate change by planting a tree for every child born or adopted in Wales.
The Minister planted a sapling when he met children from St Anne’s Roman Catholic School in Wrexham, who were instrumental in developing the new woodland when they planted many of the growing trees themselves back in March.
The Minister said, “Planting more trees will help us to tackle climate change as well as provide other benefits both now and in the future.
“The Welsh Government has set out its commitment to securing a sustainable environment. Encouraging future generations to live much more sustainable lives is key to us achieving that aim.
“By giving children and young people a sense of ownership of the natural environment, and encouraging them and their families to enjoy the outdoors, we can build a better future for us all.”
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.
As the Minister toured Caia Park, young children up to five years old took part in activities led by Forestry Commission Wales education officers and listened to author Julia Donaldson’s tale of the Stick Man, before making their own version of the story’s hero using woodland materials.
Meanwhile, older children followed an animal puzzle trail, learning about what animals and birds will in time come to inhabit this urban woodland, which is owned and managed by Wrexham County Borough Council.
Sharon Daltrey, Head Teacher at St Anne’s RC School, said, “From coming up with a name for the area to planting the trees themselves, the children have been excited to be part of this community project.”
Working in partnership with Keep Wales Tidy, the children will continue to play an active role in conserving Caia Park, helping to litter pick in and around the woodland and surrounding area.
The Plant! initiative was launched in December 2007 and supports a commitment in the Welsh Government’s Woodlands for Wales strategy to “create a Welsh National Forest of native trees to act as a carbon sink”.
The other Plant! sites are located in Coed Ysgubor Wen near Tywyn, at Coed Bryn Oer, near Tredegar, Cefn Ila, near Usk and Coedwig y Plant, Cwm Garw, near Bridgend.
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 Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
Coed Cadw are partners with the Welsh Government in the Plant! project.
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 Welsh 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 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.
Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email firstname.lastname@example.org