Volunteers helping St Albans’ new forest to take root

PUBLISHED: 18:00 29 March 2015

Emily, 7, mum Sarah and Luke Duncan, 4 help plant trees in Heartwood forest with Harpenden free school and the Woodland trust

Emily, 7, mum Sarah and Luke Duncan, 4 help plant trees in Heartwood forest with Harpenden free school and the Woodland trust


Green-fingered pupils got their hands dirty when they helped plant trees at a forest on the outskirts of the city.

Mixed year groups from Harpenden Free School took part in the event at Heartwood Forest in Sandridge in partnership with its creator the Woodland Trust.

More than 150 children, 40 staff and parents worked together to plant over 500 trees.

The Woodland Trust are planting over 50,000 in the same field over a year, and 4,000 were planted by 726 people the weekend before.

Kate Watson, the school’s director of learning, said: “This is a superb opportunity for the children to learn more about the local environment and how they can help.

“It ties in closely with the school’s ethos of learning outdoors and learning through links with the local community.

“The children are very excited about being involved in this project and also about the other outdoor activities, such as shelter building that they took part in during the day.”

St Albans Mayor, Cllr Geoff Harrison, and his partner, Moira Seton, also got stuck in with the tree planting joining in with the budding enthusiasts at the previous event.

Louise Neicho, site manager for the Woodland Trust, said: “By the end of the spring we hope to have planted half a million trees in a little over five years, which would not have been at all possible without the fantastic on-going support from people locally.

“The new trees are already having a positive impact on wildlife and increased numbers of people are visiting the site; we hope this will continue.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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