PUPILS from the Upper Wharfedale Primary Federation have been busy planting trees and hedgerows at the four schools as part of encouraging more learning outdoors and the bringing to life lessons on the environment.

At Cracoe school, 50 trees have been planted throughout the grounds, including a small copse within the school’s new wildlife garden.

The garden project was initiated in 2019 with support of the Trustees of the Cracoe War Memorial Village Hall and the Swindon Quarry Environment Fund. Pupils, who have designed the garden, each researched and chose a native tree to plant and care for over their years at Cracoe. The children hope to encourage wildlife and are also working on a scheme to include a pond and beehives.

Burnsall school pupils have also been planting 250 saplings to create a 50m native hedgerow composed of hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, dog wood and holly, forming an attractive feature along the boundary of their outdoor learning area.

As the hedge matures it is hoped that it will become a haven for wild life that the pupils will be able to observe and learn about. They will also plant a number of stand-alone trees to succeed the mature trees already on the site of this 400-year old school, which was founded by Sir William Craven in 1602.

Grassington Primary will be planting sessile oak, birch, alder and hazel to improve the diversity of tree species, and Kettlewell Primary, which already has its own established forest school woodland, will also be planting sessile oak – a species which in maturity will support almost 300 different insects!

Chris Boxall, executive co-headteacher of the primary federation, said:“We are delighted that every child in the federation will be taking part in planting trees within our school grounds. The children recognise what an important role trees play in tackling climate change and its effects. They are also keen to ensure that the trees and hedgerows will provide habitats for wildlife”.

The federation says it is very grateful to Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust which has provided the trees through the ‘Together for Trees’ initiative, funded by Defra’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Together for Trees aims to provide opportunities for individuals and community groups to get involved in woodland activities including creating and caring for new woodlands and hedgerows that will help to connect habitats and reduce biodiversity loss.

The Federation is also grateful to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority for all its guidance and advice in the tree planting.