London Luton Airport (LLA) is joining forces with charity, The Forest of Marston Vale Trust, to launch a new environmental education programme aimed at local schools and community groups.

The programme will provide young people with opportunities to visit the community forest in Bedfordshire and take part in interactive environment themed workshops and activities such as tree planting. 

David Vazquez, Head of Sustainability at London Luton Airport, commented: “We are delighted to partner with The Forest of Marston Vale and be part of something that provides increased education opportunities to local schools, charities and community groups. The programme provides schools and community groups in and around Luton with a variety of opportunities to access nature and learn about the environment and biodiversity. As one of three skills and education programmes that LLA is launching this year, each designed to equip local students with skills, opportunities and career insight over the course of their school journey, this exciting programme underlines our broader commitment to ensure young people are given the opportunity to learn and be inspired around wider environmental issues and the positive impact they can make.”

Tennyson Road Primary School in Luton is the first school to participate in the programme. Staff and 120 children from the school visited the Forest of Marston Vale in February, planting over 500 trees, alongside LLA volunteers.

Carla Gotch, Head of School at Tennyson Road School, commented: “One of the best ways for children to learn is by doing and our visit to the Forest of Marston Vale has provided our pupils with a fantastic first-hand opportunity to develop their understanding of biodiversity, the importance of nature and how all livings things are connected. It’s so important that young people receive this kind of environmental education, and we are absolutely delighted to be partnering again with London Luton Airport’s sustainability team for this hugely beneficial education programme. Our children have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the education programme with London Luton Airport, the project has really made them feel like they are contributing to their local environment in a long-lasting way.”

Jo Roberts, Community Engagement Officer at The Forest of Marston Vale, added: “It was a pleasure to host the children of Tennyson Road School as part of this fantastic educational initiative from London Luton Airport. It’s vital that children understand the importance of woodlands for people and for wildlife and there is no better way to learn than through direct contact with nature. We look forward to working with the airport to highlight the ways in which the local community can support the great work that is being done at The Forest of Marston Vale and to hosting more schools from the local area.

The environmental education programme is initially available to beneficiaries of LLA’s Greener Future Fund. Launched in 2023, the Greener Future Fund provides grants to support biodiversity, carbon reduction and environmental education projects run by organisations, charities and schools within a five-mile radius of the airport.

The programme has so far awarded grants totalling over £100,000, benefitting over 13,000 local people, including the staff and children of Tennyson Road Primary School, who were awarded £10,000 to create a green learning space within the school grounds.