The 30th November marked Tree Charter Day when the Woodland Trust called upon one million people across the UK to plant a tree, so I thought it would be an excellent time to teach the children about the importance of trees, along with winter birds (https://campaigns.woodlandtrust.org.uk/page/46713/data/1?locale=en-GB). Mrs Casey had helped the kids create bird feeders earlier in the week, and they’d thoroughly enjoyed putting sunflower seeds in apples and hanging them around the outside play area.
Not only do trees provide us with food and oxygen, but they also improve air quality, conserves water, preserves soil, shelter animals and generally supports wildlife (https://www.savatree.com/whytrees.html ). Trees are also integral in combatting climate change for they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere which helps clean the air we breathe.
From burning fossil fuels to create power for our homes, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous monoxide are produced which are damaging to the atmosphere. The level of CO2 has risen by forty percent during the 20th and 21st century, which is a considerable increase (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/climate-and-climate-change/climate-change/index).
One of the best ways of protecting our environment is to reach net-zero emissions (by removing as many emissions as we produce) achieved by doubling the UK forests by 2045, so we really ought to give trees more of the centre stage (https://friendsoftheearth.uk/trees). But, this also means planting ecologically and climate-resilient trees in keeping with the native trees already in woodlands in which the new planting is being done; to mimic the local semi-natural woods on similar soils (https://www.conservationhandbooks.com/select-trees-new-native-woodland/).
The children and I chatted about trees, winter birds and how they’d had fun making bird feeders with Mrs Casey. The kids enjoyed drawing trees on the board whilst we talked about how many things we could see made from wood, including the easel we were working with and the tiny chairs on which they were sitting.
I asked the children why trees are so good for the environment and after some pondering, a couple of little girls looked at me and replied by saying, ‘trees take bad things out of the air and make it clean for us. We love trees,’ they exclaimed. ‘Well done girls,’ I said - that’s the crux of it. Thank you for having me Nursery; it was an insightful and fantastic workshop.