Port Authority's third phase of tree-planting with pupils

A Shetland school has continued an annual rewilding project, planting a further 150 trees, again with the support of Lerwick Port Authority.

As part of their “Living Things” topic, 23 pupils from primary 4 at Lerwick’s Bell’s Brae School dug in at the site at the town’s Holmsgarth Brae, the location for previous plantings.

Mrs Wishart, the class teacher, said: “It was a great way to finish our topic on ‘Living Things.’ The children had spent the term learning about plants, animals and their habitats. Planting trees helped reinforce our work on biodiversity and understanding the issues to do with climate change.”

Mrs Simpson, Bell’s Brae Depute Head Teacher, commented: “This opportunity gives pupils the experience of enhancing their local community whilst learning about the benefits of tree planting. For the past three years, P4 pupils have benefited from working with the Lerwick Port Authority and the Amenity Trust to gain knowledge and skills which will support them in the future.”

Some of the pupils shared their enthusiasm for the project:

Emily – “It was great fun because we all got to help each other plant trees.”

Thea – “I enjoyed planting trees because it helps the environment.”

Lois – “I enjoyed boogying on the ground to make the soil flat after we put the trees in!”

Noah – “Planting the trees will help get carbon dioxide out of the air and give us more oxygen.”

Jaylah – “I loved digging the holes to put the trees inside.”

Sponsored by SSE Renewables/Viking Energy Wind Farm, the various trees and shrubs, are all hardy native species grown and supplied locally by Shetland Amenity Trust which also assisted with the planting.

Paul Goddard, Shetland Amenity Trust’s Woodland Team Leader said: “We are pleased to again be involved with helping the pupils of Bell’s Brae primary school and the Lerwick Port Authority with their planting initiative in Lerwick.

“With the global collapse of biodiversity, projects like this, no matter how small, are so important for our wildlife. We have planted a mix of native and non-native trees and flowering shrubs that have been locally grown by SAT and perfectly adapted to Shetland’s climate.”

Stuart Wadley, the Authority’s HSEQ Manager, said: “The series of rewilding projects undertaken by the Authority has seen almost 500 trees and shrubs planted by pupils to date. We were delighted to sponsor the youngsters again by providing the land, not only encouraging their interest in, and contribution to, the environment but also compensating for our annual consumption of paper in our operations. Our thanks to all involved.”

The Port Authority’s paper usage is equivalent to 12 trees annually. It began supporting planting in 2017, interrupted by the Covid pandemic. Carbon capture, reducing grass cutting and fossil fuel use, and encouraging wildlife are among the benefits.

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