As part of our commitment to help the Earth, we here at Earth Pathways have decided to use some of the funds gathered from selling our beautiful diaries and calendars to plant trees. Where better a place to plant our wonderful oxygen gifting friends than at our local school where they have a dedicated ‘Forest School’ area which offers the children…
“…regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees”
Quote taken from http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/what-is-forest-school – 20/3/2018
The day dawned cold but bright and we (Jaine and Debs) set out to join the kids in their exciting tree planting activity; the first task was actually getting the tree and the compost to school. We grabbed a poor unsuspecting fella off the street to take this photo and he assured us we looked COMPLETELY NORMAL and nothing like a couple of extras from a Wurzel Gummidge TV episode. Off he ran, up the road, as soon as he’d finished snapping us.
At school we were greeted by many animated Welly Boots, festooned with superheros, dinosaurs, glitter and glamour, and all eager to run down to the Forest School area to start playing. They had been told about the tree, a Herman Plum, and a couple of them remarked on its appearance; “Oh! It’s a little baby one”, “Where are its leaves?”, “You’ve forgotten the plums!” and “How will we get THAT in the ground?!” When we explained that we would need to dig a hole first, we were met with excited yells of “I’LL HELP! YIPPEE! WHERE IS THE SPADE?” and the Welly Boots started leaping around, planning the digging site, collecting spades and forks, and removing & replanting some spring bulbs; for a good ten minutes there was frenzied activity around the area in which the ‘baby tree’ was destined.
As the frenzy turned into a lull, we decided we could probably speed up proceedings by encouraging them to leave the hole open rather than putting the excavated earth back into it. This, apparently, wasn’t half as much fun as digging a hole and then immediately back-filling it so off the Welly Boots went to immerse themselves (a couple quite literally) in all the exciting adventures offered by the Forest School session. Jaine got digging and I supervised. The minute a hole started to emerge, many of the Welly Boots came tearing back and leapt straight into the hole. We realised it might turn out to be a long day.
Under my expert supervision, Jaine and the Welly Boots did really well, exhuming all manner of broken bricks, huge Cotswold stones, general building rubble and real life CLAY from the hole (the Welly Boots were THRILLED to get their hands on that unexpected bounty). We mixed up some top quality compost with the excavated soil, and prepared the hole for receiving its new resident. Finally, we all gathered ’round, sang a song, offered prayers and wishes for the tree’s health, strength and vitality, and once the tree had been gently placed into its new home, we each sprinkled a little water onto it and made our own wish for its future. Some water sprinkling was more vigorous than others; I suspect one or two Welly Boots needed to be dried out by the radiator that evening.
(Before anyone writes in to ask whether there are two set of identical twins/triplets in this class, I think I need to point out that we couldn’t publish photographs showing any of the Welly Boot’s faces, so where there was a little nose, eye or other identifying facial feature, I needed to do a little ‘Frankensteining’ and so have superimposed my own Welly Boots’ mug shots!!!)
After the tree was safely in the ground we needed to give it lots and lots and lots of water! Again, the Welly Boots were extremely keen to put themselves forward for this job. (The enthusiasm and gusto for dispersing water is an obvious calling for quite a few of The Boots. Fireman Sam eat your heart out). The stones that
Jaine WE ALL laboriously uncovered made for a lovely circle around the base of the tree and one final planting ritual comprising ‘hands-in-the-wet-Earth’ meant that our job was almost done. It seemed only fitting to use some of that wet earth energy to create a little wall-art on the side of the shed; a possible contender for the 2020 Earth Pathways cover? (“Absolutely no way” – Glennie, EP Editor)
And there you have it. If you want to experience an absolutely delightful day, spent with absolutely delightful company, offer a gang of Welly Boots the chance to help plant a tree. Sure there’s a little hard work involved*, and you may have tired arms and soggy, dirty Boots at the end but the rewards are huge! (*Unless, like Debs, you spend the entire time eating MY chocolate, drinking MY tea and watching ME dig the hole – Jaine)
“Go out into nature and sit with a tree. You may not get wifi but you’ll sure have a better connection”.
With huge thanks to Rainbow class at Stroud Valley Community School and their amazing, awesome, tireless and inspiring Forest School leader, Miss Beaudro.