Planting day at 3M's factory grounds with Aycliffe Primary School
On a warm spring day, the Tree Appeal team went along to the Newton Aycliffe branch of global technology company, 3M, to help plant 100 native broad leaved saplings. Joining Tree Appeal and the staff of 3M were teachers and pupils from nearby Aycliffe Village Primary School, who have existing connections with the company.
Miraculously, the gathering rainclouds completely bypassed the planting team as they got stuck into digging. As they grow the trees will form a pleasant, shaded woodland and everyone ploughed all their energies into the planting, proud to be part of something that will make such a difference to the area. The children were thrilled to spend a morning out of the classroom and the representatives from 3M were certainly glad of the extra pairs of hands!
Martyn Harvey, of 3M, said “We’re very keen to involve the local community and we have strong links with Aycliffe Village Primary School, so it’s great that the kids have come along to help today. In 2002, 3M celebrated one hundred years as a manufacturing company so from an environmental point of view, we wanted to think about ways in which we could celebrate that.”
“At school, we have a Gardening Club and do lots of fun things. We had frogspawn and now it’s hatched into tadpoles so we’ll be putting them in our new pond. We have lots of other things in like newts and water snails too – sometimes even leeches!” Jamie Forster, Aycliffe Village Primary pupil
The children of Aycliffe Village Primary are passionate about the environment, so they were very excited to be asked along to the planting at the 3M factory. Susan Wood, one of the teachers who came along on the day, said “We’re trying to introduce a lot more outdoor education into the curriculum. A lot of it is topic based and our current topic is plants so this ties in really nicely. The children learn so much more by getting out here and actually doing it. It’s real hands-on learning.”
Also in attendance at the planting morning was the Mayor of Aycliffe, Councillor Mary Dalton. Despite receiving her invitation at the last minute due to her secretary being on holiday, Councillor Dalton was extremely keen to be involved in such a worthwhile event. She said, “It’s really wonderful to be here and see the children having so much fun. They’re working hard to plant the trees and you can see they’re learning so much from it – it’s a joy to watch.”
“It’s fun to plant the trees because we know it helps the environment” Naryse Cox, Aycliffe Village Primary pupil
Councillor Dalton commended 3M’s efforts to plant the trees, pointing out that they aren’t just improving their own grounds but are making a significant difference to the surroundings of the community.
She continued, “So many companies use their spare land to erect more unsightly buildings and they don’t realise how important it is to keep green spaces. We’re trying to retain as much greenery as we can here in Aycliffe, so it’s nice that this area is here and will have so many different trees growing in it. It’s been an absolutely lovely morning and a marvellous experience.”
Following the planting, the Mayor presented the children with certificates from Tree Appeal and 3M, congratulating them on their enthusiasm and hard work.
With the planting day, Aycliffe Village Primary officially became a School on the Wildside. The staff and students of Aycliffe Village Primary will return to the factory to visit the trees and will be involved in measuring the growth of the saplings during Tree Measuring Week each October. They will then be able to compare the progress of their trees with those in schools all across the UK.
Mrs Wood added, “We’re lucky in that we have a lot of space in our school grounds, with a garden and a pond area, so we’re trying to encourage as much interest in the environment as we can. We’ve been talking about growth rates, so it’ll be nice to come back and see the progress of these trees.”