Tuesday, May 24, 2022
NewsEnvironmentWee Forest initiative hopes to plant seeds for environmental awareness

Wee Forest initiative hopes to plant seeds for environmental awareness

BIG transformations to two small patches of Dundee are underway as local communities came together to plant hundreds of trees as part of a citizen science initiative.

More than 600 trees have been planted as part of the Wee Forest initiative.

Once established, these environments have the potential to attract hundreds of animal and plant species to urban areas.

Dundee’s Wee Forests were planted on Robertson Street and the Douglas Community Centre over the weekend by primary school children, parents and the local communities.

Wee Forest being planted on Robertson St
A Wee Forest being planted on Robertson St by a primary school pupil.

The initiative aims to encourage schools and local people to take part in citizen science activities, to raise awareness of climate change and the value of urban trees.

Led by NatureScot and supported by the University of Dundee, the spaces, equivalent to the size of a tennis court, will be looked after by local youth.

It’s hoped that this will give youngsters hands-on experience of nurturing nature and educate them about how the natural world can help combat climate change.

Kevin Frediani, Curator of the University of Dundee’s Botanic Garden, said: “This is a hugely exciting initiative that has the potential to transform how youngsters interact with the natural world.

 “Over time, youngsters will be involved in monitoring the butterflies that use the forests, calculating the amount of carbon captured and measuring the impact that trees have on slowing down the run-off from rainstorms.

“Wee Forests represent an act of hope, facilitating an opportunity to co-create near-by nature that benefits people and the planet for all our futures.”

The forests will reportedly be capable of attracting more than 500 animal and plant species within the first three years.

They will be looked after by a volunteer tree keeper team and Glebelands, Clepington and Claypotts Castle primary schools as well as local Beavers, Cubs and Brownies groups.

As well as being a living science lab, the Wee Forests can incorporate outdoor classroom seating and provide a space for young people to learn about climate change and the value of urban trees.

Gary Jamieson, a teacher at Glebelands Primary School, said: “It’s amazing to see how engaged the children are with this initiative, and it’s only just the beginning.

“This whole place will grow as the children grow and they will get so much out of it.

“We can link a lot of the curriculum to this area and once we design and build our outdoor classroom it can become part of their daily routine.”

Funding for the £500,000 project has been provided by the Scottish Government and is further supported by Earthwatch Europe, with 20 or more Wee Forests planned across Scotland.

Francesca Osowska, NatureScot chief executive said: “These Wee Forests are not only a great way to help people connect with nature, but they’ll also help communities become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

“We want to inspire the next generation to care for nature, and what better way to do this than to grow up alongside their very own forest.”

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