The DEFRA 1 Million Trees scheme seemed ambitious at the beginning - planting a million trees with a million school children amongst everything that's been going on'd be forgiven for thinking it wouldn't happen!

But everyone has done an incredible job - collectively, Community Forests are on target to hit the 164,600 trees allocated to them by the finish date in 2020 (partners like the Woodland Trust are delivering the rest of the million). We are very proud to have contributed to that, with the highest proportional number of local schools involved, out of all of the Community Forests. Here's what we've achieved with local schools in the past 3 planting seasons:

In 2017, 250 kids planted 1150 trees

In 2018, 690 kids planted 3000 trees

This year, 1000 kids planted 3700 trees

We just completed our last planting for the year this week in Houghton Conquest, so we're giving a huge pat on the back to all of the kids and teachers involved in making this happen. Obviously, the aim of the project was not only to green-up school grounds, but to get children more engaged with nature, and help them to learn about the planting and aftercare of woodlands and the endless benefits of trees.

2 young girls plant trees

The national curriculum is changing - Key Stage 1 and 2 students will be taught the common names of trees, and get more opportunities to learn outside, hopefully developing an early enthusiasm for the natural environment. Schools involved in the scheme will pledge to look after the trees for 2 years after the planting, and obviously we'll be engaging with them all - offering support and advice, and helping them make the most of their new mini woodlands.

It's a scary time for the planet, with the UN only giving us a decade until climate change becomes unbeatable - but if we can get children on board at an early age, respecting the natural environment and doing their bit to combat the nasty effects of climate change, then it certainly makes us feel a bit more positive about the future. 

We'll be doing it all again in 2020 for the final year of the project - watch this space!

We've planted 1.5 million trees since we've been going but we have a target of another 5 million, so we've got a long way to go and we need your help! We don't just mean at tree plantings either - we need your support all year round in order to maintain our existing woodlands and keep planting more trees every year on our sites. It's expensive business running the Forest Centre & Millennium Country Park, as well as 12 other woodland sites and new ones year on year - and we've done it all for you - the local community. 

You can help us in lots of ways - whether it's buying a ticket to an event, donating money, or sponsoring an area of habitat as a gift. Don't take your Community Forest for granted - we can't do what we do without your support! Love your Forest...