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Every child starting primary one in a school on Lewis this August will have the opportunity to plant a tree.
A joint venture between the Rotary Club of Stornoway and Point and Sandwick Trust, the Trees for Primary Schools project is a contribution to Rotary International’s seventh area of focus – supporting the environment.
It is also part of the Croft Woodlands Project to plant native trees on croft land across the Western Isles.
The project is supported by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s director of education, skills and children’s services, and primary schools across Lewis have been invited to take part.
So far five schools with more than 200 new P1 children – Laxdale, Leurbost, Pairc, Shawbost and Stornoway – have signed up.
Andrew Sim, president of the Rotary Club of Stornoway, said: ‘We want to provide the opportunity for every new primary school pupil in Lewis to plant a tree and start them on a journey to support the environment and combat climate change in a way that makes a real impact.’
The species of tree will be selected by Western Isles Croft Woodlands project officer Viv Halcrow.
They will be sourced from local providers while care will be taken to ensure the place of planting is deer and livestock safe and arrangements are made for long-term maintenance.
‘This is a great project, encouraging individual children to do something themselves to help tackle the climate crisis,’ said Viv.
‘I’ll be able to help with sourcing trees locally – I’ll discuss with the school which species would suit – and tips on planting and maintenance.
‘Some schools have of course already planted Woodland Trust Tree Packs or Hedgerow Jelly packs and this will add to the benefits those trees are giving: encouraging wildlife, for shelter and for the landscape.’
The tree planting will take place during National Tree Week, which runs from November 27 to December 5.
They will be planted by individual children under the supervision of primary school teachers and a designated person from the Trees for Primary Schools project.
A record will be kept of every tree planted and which child planted it.
Every child will get a certificate, recognising his/her contribution to sustaining the environment and identifying their own tree.
In the event that a tree fails to grow within the timeframe of the project, it will be replaced.
If the project proves to be successful this first year, it could be extended to include other schools throughout the Western Isles.
Angus McCormack, honorary president of Point and Sandwick Trust, said: ‘This is a wonderful project which the youngsters may follow for the rest of their lives and know that they have played a small part in securing the future of our planet. The lessons learned will be lifelong.’
Anyone wanting more information on the project should contact Andrew Sim at firstname.lastname@example.org