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Moulsham High School

Moulsham High School Tree Planting - Wednesday 17th November 2021

On Wednesday 17th November, our Year 13 Eco Ambassador, Florence M, lead over 100 year 7 students, in planting more than two hundred trees, donated by Chelmsford City Council. She singlehandedly coordinated the event, from securing the tree donations, liaising with the council and Moulsham’ staff and organising more than 100-year 7 student volunteers, as well as sixth form student supervisors!

 

Thank you also to Chelmsford City Council's Conservation Officer, Edd Gillan, for aiding our students with planting techniques and telling them all about the different species of tree being planted!

 

Florence had this to say about the initiative:

Why did you want to plant trees?

I wanted to plant trees, primarily due to environmental motives. In recent years my concerns for our environment have become very prominent in my life, particularly following the climate strikes lead by Greta Thunberg. Before then I hadn’t thought about climate change and I think Greta had the same effect on many people, of course significantly among the younger population. Through reading many articles and listening to interviews on the news, as well as joining pressure groups- Green Peace and Extinction Rebellion, I came to learn a lot about climate change but more importantly, I learnt how to tackle it and that I wanted to tackle it. Planting trees is one of the most effective and easiest ways for communities to do this.

How did you get people to donate the trees?

From all my work within local pressure groups and role in organising Chelmsford’s Youth Climate Strike in 2019, I was invited to Chelmsford City Council’s Youth Climate Summit this September. Local officials attended the summit, informing us on their plans to improve our environment with discussion allowed. Councillor Rose Moore was describing the efforts of the Liberal Democrats regarding recent mass tree plantings, which I am sure is widely acknowledged. Her passion and seriousness was clear and thus I approached her with my plan to do the same in our school (MHS), requesting her help in providing the trees. Rose agreed to my request and directed me to Conservation Officer, Edd Gillan. Edd became vital to this project- discussing and encouraging the planting with our Headteacher, Miss Mead providing the trees and informing a group of 100-year 7s about the many benefits of the planting.

Why did you want it to be a school effort?

We are a community, a community of young adults that are becoming increasingly aware of the risks of climate change, in this light it made logical sense. The nature of climate change means it will affect younger generations a lot more, so the inclusion of the youngest students was, in my opinion, necessary. Year 7s will watch the trees that they planted grow for 5-7 years (by which time they will be roughly 3.5 metres tall). It was also amazing to see year 7 students integrating with year 13 students as, although there’s clearly a generational gap, the efforts and cooperation of our youth was very present and showed how much students value this cause. This interest was something clear to me when I was presented with a group of 100 year 7 volunteers, all committed to the tree planting…I was not expecting so many!

How will it benefit the school & kids?

The sheer number of trees-200 will eventually (about 7-10 years from now) create a mini forest and this environment has many benefits. Environmentally, trees depollute air, significantly reducing the levels of carbon dioxide in the air and other toxic pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide – so of course this vast number of trees will have some positive effects on our quality of air. The variety of trees- there are 13 and all native species, have many benefits to our school’s environment. It’s not just the beautiful appearance of for example the Hornbeam, that has beautiful & striking red leaves, but it is also the abilities they have as native trees. Native species are the most productive as they have co-evolved to support surrounding ecological systems which include, bees, butterflies, birds, etc and thus create the environment necessary for them to thrive. They are also easier to upkeep- in that they do not require a great deal of water as they quickly adapt to their situation.  Mental health is also a significant factor and clear example of how outlets in nature can have drastic effects. This area will provide students with a place to reflect and appreciate their surroundings and what nature can offer their mental wellbeing. In fact, “studies supporting ART have demonstrated improved performance on attention-demanding tasks following time spent in natural environments” (e.g., Hartig et al., 1991; Berman et al., 2008). Nature and presence in nature improves human ability to maintain attention.  Educationally, nature is also a source of inspiration for subjects- particularly the arts. Whilst within science, this microcosm will benefit students by giving insight into the environmental effects and role of these organisms which will thus be helpful in their studies of biology.

Did people enjoy it?

Yes! I was not expecting the amount of interest I received from the year 7s. It was incredible. I asked for anyone interested from year 7 to attend an assembly whereby I gave a talk on the tree planting and its benefits- of which approximately 100-year 7s attended and thus attended the tree planting the following Wednesday (17th November). They were put into groups with year 13 ‘team leaders’ for the hour of the planting and it was amazing to see them so actively engaged. Their generation has been affected a great deal by the pandemic- ultimately losing out on their last years of Junior School and going straight into the deep end at High school. I think this really showed through their positive attitudes and enthusiasm during the planting. I’m really glad they were able to take part in this.

Moulsham High School Tree Planting - Wednesday 17th November 2021

On Wednesday 17th November, our year 13 Eco Ambassador, Florence M, lead over 100 year 7 students, in planting more than two hundred trees, donated by Chelmsford City Council. She singlehandedly coordinated the event, from securing the tree donations, liaising with the council and Moulsham’ staff and organising more than 100-year 7 student volunteers, as well as sixth form student supervisors!

Florence had this to say about the initiative:

Why did you want to plant trees?

I wanted to plant trees, primarily due to environmental motives. In recent years my concerns for our environment have become very prominent in my life, particularly following the climate strikes lead by Greta Thunberg. Before then I hadn’t thought about climate change and I think Greta had the same effect on many people, of course significantly among the younger population. Through reading many articles and listening to interviews on the news, as well as joining pressure groups- Green Peace and Extinction Rebellion, I came to learn a lot about climate change but more importantly, I learnt how to tackle it and that I wanted to tackle it. Planting trees is one of the most effective and easiest ways for communities to do this.

How did you get people to donate the trees?

From all my work within local pressure groups and role in organising Chelmsford’s Youth Climate Strike in 2019, I was invited to Chelmsford City Council’s Youth Climate Summit this September. Local officials attended the summit, informing us on their plans to improve our environment with discussion allowed. Councillor Rose Moore was describing the efforts of the Liberal Democrats regarding recent mass tree plantings, which I am sure is widely acknowledged. Her passion and seriousness was clear and thus I approached her with my plan to do the same in our school (MHS), requesting her help in providing the trees. Rose agreed to my request and directed me to Conservation Officer, Edd Gillan. Edd became vital to this project- discussing and encouraging the planting with our Headteacher, Miss Mead providing the trees and informing a group of 100-year 7s about the many benefits of the planting.

Why did you want it to be a school effort?

We are a community, a community of young adults that are becoming increasingly aware of the risks of climate change, in this light it made logical sense. The nature of climate change means it will affect younger generations a lot more, so the inclusion of the youngest students was, in my opinion, necessary. Year 7s will watch the trees that they planted grow for 5-7 years (by which time they will be roughly 3.5 metres tall). It was also amazing to see year 7 students integrating with year 13 students as, although there’s clearly a generational gap, the efforts and cooperation of our youth was very present and showed how much students value this cause. This interest was something clear to me when I was presented with a group of 100 year 7 volunteers, all committed to the tree planting…I was not expecting so many!

How will it benefit the school & kids?

The sheer number of trees-200 will eventually (about 7-10 years from now) create a mini forest and this environment has many benefits. Environmentally, trees depollute air, significantly reducing the levels of carbon dioxide in the air and other toxic pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide – so of course this vast number of trees will have some positive effects on our quality of air. The variety of trees- there are 13 and all native species, have many benefits to our school’s environment. It’s not just the beautiful appearance of for example the Hornbeam, that has beautiful & striking red leaves, but it is also the abilities they have as native trees. Native species are the most productive as they have co-evolved to support surrounding ecological systems which include, bees, butterflies, birds, etc and thus create the environment necessary for them to thrive. They are also easier to upkeep- in that they do not require a great deal of water as they quickly adapt to their situation.  Mental health is also a significant factor and clear example of how outlets in nature can have drastic effects. This area will provide students with a place to reflect and appreciate their surroundings and what nature can offer their mental wellbeing. In fact, “studies supporting ART have demonstrated improved performance on attention-demanding tasks following time spent in natural environments” (e.g., Hartig et al., 1991; Berman et al., 2008). Nature and presence in nature improves human ability to maintain attention.  Educationally, nature is also a source of inspiration for subjects- particularly the arts. Whilst within science, this microcosm will benefit students by giving insight into the environmental effects and role of these organisms which will thus be helpful in their studies of biology.

Did people enjoy it?

Yes! I was not expecting the amount of interest I received from the year 7s. It was incredible. I asked for anyone interested from year 7 to attend an assembly whereby I gave a talk on the tree planting and its benefits- of which approximately 100-year 7s attended and thus attended the tree planting the following Wednesday (17th November). They were put into groups with year 13 ‘team leaders’ for the hour of the planting and it was amazing to see them so actively engaged. Their generation has been affected a great deal by the pandemic- ultimately losing out on their last years of Junior School and going straight into the deep end at High school. I think this really showed through their positive attitudes and enthusiasm during the planting. I’m really glad they were able to take part in this.

Bridge Academy Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 07663795.

Registered Office: Community Building, Bridge Academy Trust, Brian Close, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 9DZ.

Tel: 01245504540

Email: enquiries@bridgeacademytrust.org

           
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