Community groups last week joined forces with students at Mold Alun High School to plant an orchard and a hedgerow in their school grounds. The apple trees and shrubs are all native which means that, with a little luck, they will be growing on well into the next century – when the children’s grandchildren will still be able to inspect their handiwork and eat some delicious home-grown apples.
Since the Second World War 90% of native orchards in Wales have been cut down whilst we have continued to import more apples from abroad. Iwan Edwards from North Wales Wildlife Trust led the planting project that aims to help reverse this trend by educating people about the benefits of creating local orchards. Iwan emphasised the importance trees play in maintaining healthy levels of biodiversity as well as explaining that, “The north Wales climate is perfect for growing apple trees. Communities are becoming more aware of their food miles and the benefits of growing food locally so why buy apples shipped in from France when they could be picked and eaten from a local orchard?”
Paul Bunton of the Woodland Trust, who provided the shrubs, said, “Even schools with quite small grounds will often be able to accommodate a hedge or copse which can inspire children to really get in touch with nature and learn about the ecology of these wonderful habitats.”
Twenty-two students from years seven through to eleven volunteered to get their hands (very) dirty and spent the morning planting. Nerys Jones from the Alun has organised for tree ambassadors to keep an eye on the trees’ progress and to make sure they have enough water in these crucial first months. Nerys said, “It was fantastic to see the students so enthralled with this project, they weren’t at all afraid to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in. I’m pleased that this project will benefit the school for years to come.”
The planting day was part of a community collaboration between North Wales Wildlife Trust, who provided the apple trees in collaboration with Flinshire County Council as part of a Welsh Assembly Government initiative; Alun School who applied for the shrubs from the Woodland Trust’s ‘more trees – more good’ campaign; Cittaslow Mold who are currently working on a More Trees 4 Mold project; Flintshare who work to produce fresh, local sustainable food, and Mold & Buckley Lions who are part of an international ‘plant a million trees’ project.
The next More Trees 4 Mold meeting will be held on Monday 14th May at 7pm at Mold Town Hall and all are welcome to attend. Call Cittaslow UK Project Officer Sophie McKeand on 01352 758558 or email@example.com for more information.