Family saves tree planting project at St Albans school

Suzanne, Jessica, Jenson and Scott Dolan, who saved a tree planting project at Mount Pleasant School

Suzanne, Jessica, Jenson and Scott Dolan, who saved a tree planting project at Mount Pleasant School. - Credit: Archant

A plan for the local community to plant over 400 trees at a St Albans primary school was nearly cancelled because of the lockdown but the project has been saved thanks to the actions of one family.

Last year Mount Pleasant Primary School applied to the Woodland Trust charity for the gift of 420 trees, to be planted as part of a bigger environmental project in the school, which was to raise awareness of the importance of growing trees for carbon capture, as well as measuring air pollution around the school area. There were also plans to get the pupils growing their own vegetables.

Before lockdown the project was planned to involve local people, bringing parents, pupils and neighbours together for a community planting event.

Now Sustainable St Albans volunteer and parent Suzanne Dolan, husband Scott and children Jessica, nine, and Jenson, five, have been working hard to ensure the Woodland Trust trees get planted out in the school grounds.

Suzanne Dolan said: “We were determined that these trees were going to be saved.

“The bigger plan had been to engage parents and pupils in a wider understanding of environmental issues, as well as the dangerous issue of air pollution by encouraging parking further away from the school gates; asking parents to switch off engines while waiting, and to consider using bicycles and walking to get to school.”

The Dolan family, who are practising social distancing, have been planting the trees along the front perimeter fence of the school, which has involved lifting and replanting daffodil bulbs as they go.

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Scott said: “It was only right that we spent this time salvaging what we could of this project. It’s been hard work but good exercise for all the family during the lockdown.”

Headteacher Victoria Burman said the family were the only people given access to the school during lockdown, and added: “It’s very good that parents have stepped in to ensure the school’s environmental project will succeed.”

Local business, Burston Garden Centre have also helped by donating vegetable seedlings that are now being grown by key workers’ children attending the school during the lockdown.

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