Alex Chalk is supporting a new initiative in which primary schools in Cheltenham are being offered the chance to plant free trees with help from the Woodland Trust. Schools across Cheltenham are being offered the chance to connect with nature and improve their local area by planting trees – for free.
Children can look forward to planting a copse or hedge, which can provide a wild harvest, or a burst of year round colour. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is now supporting The Woodland Trust to offer an additional 45,000 British native trees to 7000 state funded primary schools in England. As well as free tree packs, for eligible schools, there’s help with finding somewhere else to plant if there isn’t room in school grounds; protection to help the trees grow; and on-line curriculum-linked resources to support teachers’ lesson plans.
Reflecting on the scheme, Mr Chalk said: “This is a great opportunity to encourage children to learn about our precious natural environment. I remember as a child planting a tree at my school after the devastating Great Storm of 1987, and I have felt a deep appreciation for our country's woodland ever since. Trees in urban areas act as ‘green lungs’ and if we can increase the number here in Cheltenham that would be a positive step.”
Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of The Woodland Trust said: “It’s vitally important children get the chance to plant a tree. We know from our research it’s a memory they'll treasure for years to come, and often starts their relationship off with the natural world and all the benefits that brings. This scheme offers schools which have found it hard in the past, a new way to plant trees, and bring an oasis of green into their community.”
Cheltenham’s MP Alex Chalk has in the past supported increasing the number of trees, and pressed the Government on the issue in December. Speaking in the Commons, Mr Chalk asked:
“Trees are a vital and precious feature of our natural environment, nowhere more so than in areas like Cheltenham, where they act as the town’s green lungs. Will my right hon. Friend update the House on how many trees the Government plan to plant over the course of this Parliament?”
Rory Stewart MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs) replied:
“The Government have committed to planting 11 million more trees over the course of this Parliament. We hope we may even be able to exceed that target. We are particularly proud of a scheme we are developing with the Woodland Trust to plant trees and to educate primary schoolchildren about them.”
You can apply for a free tree pack by visiting the Woodland Trust website here. The closing date for applications is January 8th 2016.