Thursday 9 June 2016

Planting trees with the next generation.

The Borders Tree Planting Grant has now finished its first year and had lots of successful applications and interest from many different applicants including private landowners, farmers, community groups, organisations and schools.

Both Chirnside and Howdenburn (Jedburgh) Primary Schools successfully applied for the Tree Planting Grant and accessed funding for around 50 well established trees each. My Colleague, Anna Craigen is currently working with these schools on the All Things Green Project which aims to improve the schools’ grounds for outdoor education and wildlife, and to help students have access to more inspirational outdoor spaces.

Anna and I decided that a small orchard area (with apples, crab apples and plums) would really provide a unique learning resource for the school children at these schools leading into the future. These were each to be accompanied by small woodland areas (Birch, Wild Cherry, Rowan and Sessile Oak) that would be planted in a way such that there were areas available for outdoor classrooms amongst the trees.
Trees and planting spears at the ready

On the 23rd and 30th March 2016 Anna and I met at Chirnside and Howdenburn schools respectively to meet the tree deliveries. We unloaded and set out tools, and carefully placed all of the trees and tree protection throughout the planned areas. During the days we worked with school pupils (ranging in age from nursery to P7), teachers and adult helpers at both of the schools whilst managing to dig lots of holes, bury their trees into the holes and all play the ‘stomping game’ (heel firming the trees into their new homes). Although the rocky ground made digging hard going at times everyone got stuck in and we managed to get all the trees planted on both the days!

Hard at work digging up turf squares

We spent some time identifying the tree species before they were planted and talked about their benefits for wildlife. We then learned about the things that trees need to grow such as water, sunlight and nutrients the knowledge of the pupils was very impressive!
Two expert tree planters back filling their tree

A great couple of days of outdoor education, tree planting, getting muddy and rescuing worms!

The new woodland at Chirnside Primary School

The Borders Tree Planting Grant is designed to fund the planting of copses, small woodlands, parkland trees, tree lines, fruit trees, hedgerow trees under 0.25 Hectares. If you are interested in applying for funding to plant trees and live in the Scottish Borders please contact me via email at


Woodland Habitats Officer

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