Planting for the future in the Hebrides

P1s at Shawbost Primary School with Robin Reid of Croft Woodlands Project and Andrew Sim of the Rotary Club, Stornoway. Photograph: Sandie Maciver.

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Children in their first year of school were busy planting trees this week as part of the Trees for Primary Schools project.

Shawbost Primary tree planting. Photograph: Sandie Maciver.

Five children from Shawbost Primary School on the Isle of Lewis joined youngsters from other schools to plant trees in their school grounds as part of the project organised by the Rotary Club of Stornoway and supported by Point and Sandwick Trust and the Croft Woodlands Project.

Tree planting at Shawbost Primary School. Photograph: Sandie Maciver.

In total this year, 120 children from five schools on the Western Isles planted a mix of native species, all of which will add shelter, wildlife habitat and landscape diversity to the island.

Andrew Sim of the Rotary Club of Stornoway and Robin Reid, Croft Woodland Advisor for Lewis and Harris, joined pupils and teachers at Shawbost last week to get the new trees in the ground completing the Trees for Primary Schools Project for 2021.

Rotary Club president Andrew commented: ‘It was really rewarding to get the trees planted at Shawbost and to see how much the children enjoyed digging them in.

‘This project has been a pleasure to roll out and building on the success of the 2021 project, we plan to do the same for 2022. We hope many more local schools will take up the opportunity.’

The Rotary Club of Stornoway is the only Rotary Club in the Western Isles and has been working hard to deliver projects locally in line with the Rotary International’s focus on supporting the environment.

Point and Sandwick Trust are committed partners in the project, which ties in with their own focus on the environment and their work with the Croft Woodlands Project and efforts to help crofters plant trees in the Western Isles.

Croft woodland advisor Robin Reid said: ‘It is great for the Croft Woodlands Project to be involved with engaging young children with the environment by getting them to plant a tree at the start of their school life.’

Organisers hope that the project will continue for many years to come and attract more schools to take part.

Honorary president of Point and Sandwick Trust Angus McCormack said: ‘This project offers a wonderful legacy for these children to look back with pride at the tree they planted in their first year of education.’

The project is open to any primary school in the Western Isles and offers children a valuable opportunity to find out about planting and growing trees and caring for their environment. Each child will receive a certificate of tree planting and the school will have a map of where the individual trees have been planted. All trees were sourced locally from Stark’s Ark in Leurbost.