The Little Tree Project at St Martin Primary School

May 7th, 2010 by Richard Lord

“The Little Tree Project’ idea came about with my children at Primary School,” said Vanessa Crispini-Adams at the Tree Warden’s Lunchtime presentation on 27 April 2010. “Primary Schools have amazing grounds but because of a lack of funding and a lack of time they cannot make the most of the facilities they have.”

Vanessa Crispini-Adams’ The Little Tree Project partners corporate sponsorship with community involvement from parents and teachers, and other charities.

The Little Tree Project is ably assisted with botanical expertise from Guernsey Gardens Ltd., The Guernsey Society of the Men of The Trees, and The Green Legacy Project.

The Little Tree Project’s first tree planting took place in the grounds of St. Martin Primary School on 15 April 2010.

The area in one corner of a large sports field planned by the children to be planted with trees

Prior to the tree planting, Year 3 children planned out the area for planting trees, and attended classroom sessions to learn about trees and how to plant them.

Each student produced a fact sheet on how to plant a tree. Then the children made invitations to invite their parents, grandparents and carers to the tree planting event.

Forty adults came to witness the children plant trees and assist them when necessary. The children were able to show the adults how to plant a tree, which gave them confidence and reinforced the knowledge they had gained.

Adults and children of St Martin School getting beginning the tree planting

About 80 trees were planted over a two-hour period. Ash, birch, alder, hazel, crab apple and edible apple varieties were selected. Each child entered their name in a tree registry, and tagged the tree accordingly.

St Martin primary school pupils enjoying planting trees in the school grounds

All the children received Little Tree Project badges for their accomplishment, and after the opening ceremony enjoyed some cakes.

St Martin primary school children with adult supervision planting and watering trees

The trees and whips have been planted. In several weeks time a grass and wildflower meadow will be planted to cover the bare earth

The next stage of the St Martin School project is to sow the tree planted area with a meadow of grasses and wildflowers.

The biodiversity of the area will be further enhanced with insect hotels, log piles, and bird boxes. And benches will be placed for children, staff and parents to enjoy and contemplate the area.

An example of an 'insect hotel' from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey

The initial planting was funded with £2000 won from the Channel Islands Television Wild Islands Competition, and with a contribution from State Street Trustees (Guernsey) Ltd.

The Little Tree Project hopes to raise additional funds to roll out this program to schools across Guernsey, and also to areas where children congregate, such as Guernsey’s Beau Sejour leisure centre, and other outdoor recreational areas.

The Little Tree Project will develop a seed bank. Children will plant a seed every year so that a stock of trees can be grown for further projects. Other school projects are planned for growing vegetables and herbs.

The Little Tree Project hopes to broaden relationships with the business community, schools, parents, community groups, and environmental and social charities to enhance the natural beauty and the biodiversity of Guernsey’s open spaces.

Vanessa Crispini-Adams describes The Little Tree Project to BBC Guernsey.

On 21 May Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards winners were announced for 2010.  St. Martin Primary School won the School’s Award for their Little Tree Project.

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