Primary schools in the Clyde and Avon Valleys are being encouraged to get involved in a biodiversity campaign to engage pupils in learning about orchards and the environment.
The Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT) ‘Plant A Mini Orchard’ programme aims to celebrate the traditional fruit growing areas of the Clyde and Avon Valleys, by helping schools to create and maintain mini orchards within their school grounds. Eligible schools are primary schools within the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership area and they will be contacted by CSGNT directly about being involved.
Over twenty schools in the area have taken part so far and CSGNT is urging more schools to embrace the opportunity to teach pupils about healthy eating and growing their own food.
The official definition of an orchard is five fruit trees and the participating schools will be provided with five apple trees, along with all the educational resources required to plan, plant and look after the orchard.
The packs include advice on all aspects of orchard management and maintenance, as well as a guide for teachers to demonstrate how orchards can be used in the classroom as part of the curriculum.
Emilie Wadsworth, Heritage and Biodiversity Officer at CSGNT, said: “Orchards are a wonderful, but sadly diminishing resource, with many of the small orchards in our traditional growing areas of the Forth Valley and Clyde Valley being replaced by commercial orchards elsewhere.
“Our campaign celebrates the heritage of orchards in the area and offers an excellent range of training and resources to help schools engage pupils in learning about orchards. We’ve already had a fantastic response and are encouraging more schools in the area to take part.”
Donna Marshall, CAVLP Programme Manager says, “We urge all eligible schools to take part. The project is part of a wider initiative to retrieve the Clyde Valley Orchards which has seen over 600 new fruit trees planted, orchard management and training skills and facilitation of commercial apple juice for sale.”
The project is a partnership between CSGNT, Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership, Clyde Valley Orchard Group, Larkhall Community Growers and the Castlebank Centre in Lanark. It is funded by CSGNT, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership.
For further information about the Plant a Mini Orchard project, please visit http://www.csgnt.org.uk/activities/plant-a-mini-orchard.
Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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