Rhu pupils plant to fight climate change

The pupils of Rhu Primary School have joined the fight against climate change by planting 420 saplings as their contribution to offset their carbon footprints.

The whole school project, led by teacher Miriam Walker, enabled every child to plant at least one tree in and around the local community. The Woodland Trust provided a grant for the trees and species including rowan, birch, hawthorn, crab apple, oak, willow and dogwood.

The weeks leading up to planting were a learning opportunity where the children learnt what efforts we can all make to reduce our carbon footprints. They calculated how much they were offsetting carbon emissions by planting trees and the long lasting impact that that have on us and our planet.

This project has also provided an opportunity to build and develop partnerships with local businesses and community groups who offered invaluable knowledge and guidance. Support included:

  • Babcock at HMNB Clyde, who sponsored the project by covering all transport costs to the various locations and paying for trowels for every child. COVID restrictions means the children are not permitted to share equipment.
  • The Friends of Duchess Wood for advice on planting in the wood.
  • Ardardan Estate for supporting the project by allowing the school to plant trees there.
  • Stuart Irons and Charlie Cairns at Hermitage Park for help and support.

Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, Policy Lead for Education, said: “It’s fantastic to see all the positive learning experiences that this project has provided for the entire school. From outdoor learning, to maths, botany and geography.

“But what’s really important is that it is developing a generation of young citizens who understand how vital it is to care for our planet. These are ideas and behaviours that they will take forward into adult life. Some may become the scientists and ecologists that make a global contribution, or as members of the public make day to day choices that protect our future. I very much look forward to what they achieve.”

Head Teacher, Linda MacBeath, said: “As a school, we relish every opportunity to engage with outdoor learning. We are very proud of our six eco flags and we are always trying to do more for our environment. Our goal is to become a carbon neutral school.

“We are very grateful to the Woodland Trust and Babcock for this opportunity to make such a difference in our local community.”

One pupil from the school said: “The tree planting was the best day ever! I have already been to visit my sapling with my family and I can’t wait to watch it grow. I want to go to the woods every weekend now!”

Another added: “Having our own trowels meant we could all plant our own trees which was so much fun. Thank you Babcock, I don’t think we’ll ever forget this!”

Kenny Douglas, Managing Director, Babcock at HMNB Clyde, said: “I’m happy that we have been able to support such a worthwhile project and one that is literally right on our doorstep. Sustainability is a key focus for our business and I hope that the programme goes from strength to strength and that the results are around for a long time.”

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