Last weekend, 50 local volunteers of all ages helped plant over 500 new trees at The Totteridge Academy’s on-site GROW farm.
As part of National Tree Week, the academy and GROW welcomed children, families and members of the local community to do their bit for the environment by adding hundreds of trees to the land as part of a new hedgerow.
The trees planted were a mixture of native hedgerow species that will create shelter and habitat for bird, animal and insect species and were kindly funded by the National Tree Council. Students at The Totteridge Academy have been learning about all the different types of animals and wildlife that will be supported by the new natural environment in lessons, as part of the school farm.
In addition to supporting the classroom learning, this latest GROW event was another important community-led initiative from the farm. This year has already seen local children and families enjoy craft fairs, meet the animals and take part in activities such as yoga and mindfulness.
So far the team at GROW has raised £250,000 in establishing the farm at The Totteridge Academy, which more than 400 teachers and students have already benefitted from. For the tree-planting, GROW founder George Lamb and his father, actor Larry Lamb, both lent a hand digging trenches and helping make the day a success.
One Year 7 from The Totteridge Academy Neo Jenkins, who is also a GROW farm ambassador in school, said:
“It was such a pleasure to plant so many trees and get stuck in in the mud!”
Chris Fairbairn, Principal at The Totteridge Academy, said:
“Across our school, we aim to deliver an education that inspires, excites and challenges our students and gives them opportunities they may not otherwise experience – an approach we call Education with Character. With what we can offer through the farm, our students have already got stuck into a fantastic array of outdoor activities from this week’s tree planting, to working with the live animals and growing fruit and vegetables. The feedback from not only the children and their families but from staff and our local community has been outstanding – we can’t wait to see how it develops.”
Sarah Alun-Jones, GROW Farm Manager, said:
“The tree planting was a fantastic day. People weren’t put off by the drizzle and nobody was afraid to get muddy. We managed to plant over 500 trees which is a huge achievement. Many hands make light work!”
Gayle, a local parent, said of the tree-planting:
“It’s not something I’ve ever done before but it’s been great to introduce the kids to this kind of thing and they’ve loved it’ Gayle, local parent.”
GROW, the life skills education programme working with The Totteridge Academy, is developing a proposal for a new outdoor classroom on the school site. Excitement for the project and the impact it is having on local young people has already seen the Mayor of London’s Office commit £50,000 towards this.