Primary school children and a local landowner in St Helens came together to plant trees this week as part of a range of environmental improvements linked to both national and local schemes.
Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School and local landowner Neil Stanley worked with the Mersey Forest to plant around 250 native trees and saplings at Moss House Farm, Rainford.
The tree-planting is one of a number developments made possible by funding provided as part of Electricity North West's planning commitment, through St. Helens Council, to reduce the visual impact of the power line recently installed in the area. The school's involvement is through a Defra-backed 'Trees for Learning' project to support primary schools to plant 1million trees by 2020. This initiative is being delivered through England's Community Forests (of which the Mersey Forest is one) and the Woodland Trust.
But the planting also forms part of a wider strategy of 'natural flood management' methods being implemented by the Sankey Catchment Partnership.
Mike Norbury from the Mersey Forest said, "Planting trees is one of a number of sustainable measures the Catchment Partnership is implementing to improve water quality and alleviate the risk of flooding further downstream.
As a Catchment Partnership we look at natural, low-cost ways to 'slow the flow' when it comes to long-term natural flood management, and tree-planting can make a big contribution to reducing flood risk. It's great that we're teaming up with the local school children on Trees for Learning today and that the children can see first-hand the important role trees play in shaping the landscape and managing the countryside".
Steph Hepworth, from the Mersey Forest's Trees for Learning project said, "We're so excited to see Corpu Christi pupils involved in this scheme. The children will learn how to identify lots of new trees and then roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, digging holes and planting the trees themselves. Our staff and teachers from the school will have the opportunity to discuss biodiversity with the children: prompting them to consider how trees link to other important issues like health, climate change and, especially in this case, natural flood management schemes. Defra's Trees for Learning programme links to the national curriculum and we hope that here in Rainford it will create a sense of ownership amongst the children and spark an interest in how their actions can make a difference to their shared community and its immediate environment."
If you know a school which would like to be involved in Trees for Learning
, or if you are a landowner who could provide land for tree planting with a view to supporting natural flood prevention contact the Mersey Forest on 01925 816 217.