Pupils from Hadrian Park Primary School, Wallsend, have filled a 100m space with a mix of 80 young native broadleaf trees.
The planting forms part of their Eco-School journey – a national scheme which empowers young people to make a difference to the environment in their school, local community and beyond – and contributes to North Tyneside Council’s ambitions to work towards being carbon net zero by 2030.
And during the planting event this week, 30 Year 5 children were joined by the Chair of North Tyneside Council, Cllr Pat Oliver and Young Mayor Max Godfrey.
Cllr Oliver said: “I was delighted to visit Hadrian Park Primary School and see how passionate the children are about making a difference to the environment.
“It was really inspiring to hear about all the work they’re doing to reduce their carbon emissions and how committed they are to doing more. As many residents know, tackling climate change is a key priority for the council and speaking to these young people gives me confidence that the future of our environment is in good hands.
“As a council, we are doing everything we can to work towards being carbon net zero by 2030, but we are not complacent. We recognise we won’t be able to eliminate all carbon, but with trees absorbing harmful emissions, they help us to offset any carbon we can’t remove. Tree planting and creating more biodiversity areas are therefore a vital part of our plans.”
Young Mayor Max added: “My time as Young Mayor has been focused on reducing our impact on the environment, and it was great to see first-hand a school taking steps to address climate change. This is something which is very important to us, as young people. I have been campaigning to get more schools in North Tyneside registered for the Eco-School Award and have offered an incentive of £200 to the first 20 schools that have completed and are ready to purchase their Green Flag.”
The trees were gifted by ICL Group, which supplies the council’s annual road salt. The donation forms part of its social value agreement with the local authority, which ensures any company the council has procured to provide materials also adds a social benefit to the local area.
Mark Thompson from ICL Group said: “It’s great to get children involved in the environment, providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to live more sustainable and eco-friendly lives. That’s why the ICL UK team is taking part in local tree-planting projects. Working with children to plant trees in and around their schools will help to increase biodiversity, also improve local air and water quality.”
As an aspiring Eco School, Hadrian Park has also been involved with the North Tyneside Learning Trust (NTLT) Climate Strategy. This strategy aims to help pupils develop a deeper understanding about climate change, the causes and effects. They have also been monitoring their recycling in school, with an aim to reduce our carbon footprint.
Headteacher Angi Gibson said: said: “Our school, and those within it, is committed to making a real difference in regard to tackling climate change. We already fully utilise our cycling resources for sustainable travel and having the opportunity to plant even more trees allows us to make another positive contribution in our community. Change is inevitable, but we are dedicated to making any modifications that we can to preserve the environment in which we live.”
Organised by The Tree Council, National Tree Week is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration. Each year, the country’s conservation sector, volunteer groups, schools and the wider public plant thousands of trees to mark the start of the annual tree planting season. It takes place this year from 26 November – 4 December.
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