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Trees And Schools

Involving schools and the local community in the Forest is critical to extending understanding of trees and woodland within the environment. There are many ways in which trees and woodland can link to the national curriculum; planting trees in school grounds can deliver landscape improvements, create a more interesting and diverse environment, enhance biodiversity and also provide a resource for study.

A number of local tree weeks have been held throughout the Pennine Edge Forest to promote tree and woodland activity with school groups. Activities have included:

Oldham Trees of Schools project. The Oldham Trees for Schools project was a pilot project which took place across Oldham schools in 2005. All the primary and ecoschools within Oldham were offered a free tree to plant within the school grounds. The schools were given a choice of an oak, ash, birch, hawthorn or hazel tree. About 55% of the schools within Oldham accepted the offer of a tree. The trees were distributed during February, 2005. The schools were also given full cultivation instructions for their tree, the tree stake and tree tie. The activity was repeated in 2008, when a number of schools worked with Oldham Countryside Services to plant their trees and to learn more about the value of trees within the landscape and woodland biodiversity.

Oldham Council and Pennine Edge Forest are also working together to produce an education pack entitled “Teaching with Trees”. The pack concentrates on activities related to trees and woodland for Key Stage 1 and 2, which can be undertaken as part of a programme of lessons concentrating on trees related activities or as stand along single activities. The activities have been linked to the relevant areas of the national curriculum by subject. There are also a number of art and craft activities included within the pack, which can be undertaken in the classroom following a visit to trees or woodland. The pack can be used within the school grounds or local open space where are trees or woodlands. The pack also gives helpful advice and tips of where to get help and advice related to tree planting and woodland, and local woodland sites to visit within each of the Pennine Edge Forest districts.

Teaching with Trees is to be launched within Oldham during 2006, as a part of the winter woodland activities. Although the pack has been written with Oldham Council, it is hoped that in the longer term the pack can be rolled out over the whole of the Pennine Edge Forest.

Rochdale and Oldham tree weeks. A week of activities related to trees, centred around schools. A number of schools planted trees within their grounds, other schools created green willow sculptures or visited their local woodland. The activities in Oldham cumulated in Working with Wood Day which was an opportunity for local schools to take part in a variety of workshops at Tandle Hill Country Park which looked at woodland crafts, willow weaving, woodland management and woodland biodiversity.

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