Students branch out to create new hedgerows

STUDENTS and staff at Ripon Grammar School have been marking National Tree Week with an ambitious 3,000-sapling hedge-planting drive.

Hundreds of students gathered in the school grounds this week to plant the first 2,000 trees over two days.

The project was made possible by The Tree Council’s Branching Out Fund, which supports schools and others across the UK to plant trees, hedges and orchards, as National Tree Week inspires people to get outdoors and get planting in the first week of December.

Ava Edwards, who worked with Year 7 students on their massive planting project, in addition to digging in with fellow sixth formers throughout the week, said: “The tree planting has provided fantastic opportunities for us all to get involved in regenerating the environment on our school grounds.”

RGS gardening and wildlife champion, teacher David Bruce, who has also been working with student volunteers from all year groups during lunchtime breaks, said: “This year’s National Tree Week is more important than ever as we work together to tackle the climate and nature crises.

“Trees and hedgerows store carbon, reduce flood risks and improve our air quality, and by planting more we can help grow a greener future. The young people in our community are an amazing force for nature and by planting these new hedgerows they are helping to create a nature-filled legacy for all of us.

“Hedges which suit wildlife best are those cut less frequently and later in winter. This approach better prolongs the health of the hedgerow trees themselves as well as ensuring a crop of berries and nuts that will sustain birds and other creatures through the coldest months.”

He added: “We managed to get around two thirds of our trees planted so far, with the remaining 1,000 set to be planted at a more leisurely pace over the next couple of weeks. Although the planting is almost done, it's not over because sustaining the growth of the young trees and maintaining them in a wildlife-friendly way is going to be an ongoing project.”