Shinfield St Mary’s Junior School celebrated the planting of their 5,000th tree today with the help of the Wokingham Mayor, Councillor Beth Rowland. The Damson tree, which was one of several fruit trees donated by local charity Freely Fruity, was planted with the help of the School’s Eco team. The Mayor was also on hand to help officially open the school’s new outdoor classroom.

Over the past five years, every child at Shinfield has been involved in the planting of several copses and hedgerows. The trees were donated to the school by the charities The Tree Council and The Woodland Trust. The school currently boasts one of the largest examples of a Miyawaki forest in the country; with a massive 2,000 trees planted together on a hill.

Aside from planting trees, Shinfield has now become one of the first community tree nurseries in the country to be based within a school. Children have been collecting, sorting, germinating and then potting on tree seeds ready for planting next year. The hope is that other schools and community groups take the seedlings and plant in their settings.

Councillor Beth Rowland said, “It was great to be invited along to Shinfield to plant a tree and see the wonderful work the children have been doing. It’s really important that children learn why trees are so important to us; they clean our air, help feed us and provide shade in the summer. Spending time in trees, in forests outside and even with the saplings is really good for mental wellbeing”.

Head of Ecology Matt Knight said, “It’s been a fantastic journey planting so many trees with the children. We’re looking forward to continuing growing trees for other schools and community groups to plant. We have been really fortunate that charities like The Tree Council and The Woodland Trust have provided us with so many trees and expertise. We’ve also built strong links with Wokingham Borough Council, who have also provided support with the school’s ambitious tree planting plans by supplying mulch and tree guards for our saplings.”