Our Work

Tree Planting with Schools

We work with local authorities to educate school children (ages 3-18) about the importance of the environment while planting trees. We organize tree planting events throughout planting season (November-March). In addition, we design tree placement and species to capture the most benefits that trees provide by planting the right type of trees for each site. Our team has experience with educating children on environmental issues and the goal is to provide the children with knowledge they can take forward with them throughout their lives, as well as provide a day full of fun. Case Studies from recent tree planting events are below:

Neath Port Talbot


Stakeholders

Goetre Villa Ltd, Neath Port Talbot Council, Welsh Government via the Enabling Natural Resources and Well-being Scheme (ENRaW) program, Schools in Neath Port Talbot.

Summary

Neath Port Talbot Council commissioned Goetre Villa Ltd to undertake a tree planting scheme in schools around Neath Port Talbot borough in South Wales. The scheme involved working with schools on bespoke designs for each site; logistics including stock procurement; communication with schools; and planting with children at each of the schools.
Neath Port Talbot Council is working with Goetre Villa Ltd to ensure that schools around Neath and Port Talbot are given tools to improve the quality of their local environments by planting standard trees, hedgerows and woodland belts. Tree canopy cover in Neath Port Talbot varies greatly between communities, with 8% recorded in Port Talbot and up to around 20% in some of the elevated towns in the Welsh Valleys. The tree cover in Wales, Towns and Cities report of 2013 identified that of the 117.6 hectares of land used for Education, only 9.7% has a tree canopy. This proved a good project due to the availability of land, the importance of schools within local communities, their placement in densely populated areas and also the willingness of schools to engage with the project and get pupils involved in planting.


Timeline

This project started in December 2019 when two of our consultants went to each of the 15 schools to assess the landscape, speak with the school eco representative and/or headmaster to start preparing the designs. It is always challenging to start a design program late in the season as there is less UK sourced plant material available, but designs were completed by the end of January ready for planting to start the first week of March 2020.


Why this project is important, how will it change the surroundings?

This project sets out a replicable model for future greening of schools and other potential planting sites around the borough or by use of other Council clients. With the ever increasing urban population and Port Talbot’s strong industry sector, planting trees is a way to help in mitigating some of the ill-effects of pollution and provide ecosystem benefits such as air filtration, carbon sequestration as well as habitat for wildlife and aesthetic benefits. The involvement of pupils in greening their local schools will hopefully result in a lasting love affair with trees and woodlands for the children. Goetre Villa takes great pride in nourishing young people’s minds and showing them that being outdoors and planting whips and standards is a valuable way to spend time. Feedback has also been received from schools about the benefits to keyworker children during the CV pandemic as maintaining the trees gave them something positive to focus on at a time of enormous stress.


Tree Establishment

To help the standards get established, we used a generic planting standard for the larger trees. TreePans are placed around the base of each tree and are a relatively new tool in the tree care market. TreePans help with eliminating competition near the base of the tree by naturally killing off grass and weed competition and helping with retention of water moisture. The main function of TreePans is to prevent strimmer damage – as the large diameter provides an extra buffer so there is a very low possibility of strimming damage to occur. TreePans also expand with the growth of the trunk and after three years they can be taken off and re-used on future projects.
CarbonGold’s biochar product was also added to help amend the soil to aid water/nutrient retention and helps the root system through the initial phase of growth in its new environment. Watering is also very important in helping the standard trees get established. As this project emphasizes education, the pupils have been engaged in watering the trees as part of their extracurricular activity, and they have been given watering cans to water trees during school times as part of their environmental education.

TreePan

Outcomes

In total, 100 standard broadleaved trees and 14 scots pine standards were planted to create an immediate visual impact, and over the next decade or so the woodland copses and hedgerows planted will mature and provide a greater variety of biodiversity to each site.

For further information about this project, connect with us on LinkedIn.