The first pupils and teachers from five primary schools across North Devon took part in the opening Our School Orchard training morning this week (18 March, 2019).
The children and teachers received guidance on how best to plant a young apple tree and how to make it grow and ultimately produce fruit. Each school have taken three trees away with them and the pupils will return to school and ‘teach’ their fellow students the information they’ve learnt.
It’s up to the schools how they then take the project forward at their school but as Jeff Adams from Orchards Live says, the hope is that they will be able to allocate time each season to learning more about the trees and enjoy looking after them:
Jeff Adams – Orchards Live
“This project is ultimately about children having fun outside and learning with nature. It’s not necessarily focused on fitting in to the National Curriculum, it’s about having that experience of planting a tree, looking after it, watching it grow as they themselves grow during their time at school and hopefully taking that interest in the environment around them on for the rest of their lives.”
The varieties handed over are Grandpa Ailes, Tidicombe Seedling and Cornish Aromatic. The schools taking part are from the Tarka Learning Partnership Multi-Academy Trust as well as the TEAM Multi-Academy Trust. The project is sponsored by corrugated cardboard box manufacturers Atlas Packaging.
Jason Sharman – Managing Director, Atlas Packaging
“Our core values as a company are very important to us in Teamwork, Leadership, Innovation and Excellence and so it felt the right thing to do to create our own tree planting scheme. But when we partnered with Devon charity Orchards Live it became clear that both organisations wanted it to be more than just trees and so we focused on education. The result is ‘Our School Orchard’ and now we’re helping children to learn about the seasonality of food and where it comes from as well as planting traditional local apples trees.”