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Tree planting project takes root across East Ayrshire

Mini forests have been springing up across East Ayrshire thanks to a tree-planting project led by the Council’s Learning Outdoor Support Team (LOST) called Greening the School Estate.

The LOST team has been working with children and young people from Loudoun Academy, The Robert Burns Academy and Darvel, Onthank and Lochnorris Primaries planting 1000 trees in the grounds of their schools and creating biodiverse environments for learning. The project also helped the children and young people who are currently working towards earning their John Muir Award and Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The LOST team has also visited the seven pilot schools - Catrine, Dalrymple, Drongan, Galston, Hillhead, Logan and Newmilns Primaries - that planted 1000 trees last year, working alongside the children and their teachers to care for and maintain the young tree plantations and the spaces around them. This project is already benefitting the local wildlife and will contribute to climate action by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Linda McAulay-Griffiths, Chief Education Officer and Head of Education said: “Our children and young people have been at the heart of our climate change strategy from the very beginning. When we held the first East Ayrshire Children and Young People’s Climate Change Conference back in 2019, the strength of feeling and the passion we heard from our children and young people really made us stop and think. They ask the Council to look at every aspect of how it functions and see where changes could be made to cut carbon consumption and emissions.

“Planting trees was also identified by our children and young people as an opportunity to create biodiverse learning environments while helping tackle climate change. In just two years, 2000 trees have been planted on our school estate, which is a wonderful achievement. Additional planting has also taken place at The Robert Burns Academy where East Ayrshire Woodlands have created a Wee Forrest, a project led by NatureScot and funded by the Scottish Government.

“In East Ayrshire we are committed to becoming cleaner and greener. We want our children to have a future and will take every action we can to make positive change.”

The Greening the School Estate project has been made possible by a partnership between the Council’s LOST team, departments from across the Council, The Conservation Volunteers Scotland and the #IDigTrees campaign.