STUDENTS and staff armed with spades and trowels got together to plant the first trees in Ripon Grammar School’s new apple orchard.
They include five traditional varieties – Ribston Pippin, Dog’s Snout, Egremont Russet, Blenheim Orange and Kidd’s Orange Red – and have been donated by the Friends of RGS.
This is the first stage of the orchard development, which will help promote healthy eating as well as encouraging wildlife and follows the planting of 300 native species of trees throughout the school site last year.
Student Yussef El Mountassi, 16, from Catterick was one of those who helped put down roots for the future in the area outside the humanities block: “I just wanted to do something to help the environment,” he said.
Martha Jones, 11, from Burton Leonard, explained why she got involved: “It’s important that we have more trees and even doing a little can make a big difference to the environment. We’ll also be able to use the apples in the school canteen eventually.”
The school’s eco co-ordinator David Bruce commented: “It’s a small local act, an optimistic thing to do at a time of climate emergency, when it would be very easy to be very pessimistic.
“I’m reminded of a quote by Martin Luther, who said: ‘Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree’.”
Languages teacher Felicity Stevens, who is also a qualified meditation teacher, said she would encourage more staff and students to get involved in planting: “Being outside and engaging with the natural world is good for the body and soul.”