Engaging Children with Nature

Earlier this year I was fortunate to be awarded a Tesco Bags community grant for a project. This was to create a Community Fruit Area between Priors Hill Copse and the local recreation ground. The aims were to give something back to the community for their help and support with Priors Hill. Also to increase the biodiversity and improve the wildlife corridor along the edge of the copse. The project would be carried out by Eastleigh Tree Partnership, Friends of Priors Hill Copse under the watchful eyes of the Woodland Owls a local play group. The fruiting area consisted of a mixture of fruiting bushes and trees such as Black, Red and White currents, Apple, Pear trees and Blackberry bushes. Some native plant were also included like Blackthorn Prunus spinosa, Dog Rose Rosa canina and Elderflower Sambacus nigra. Wild flower bulbs, wildflower plants and seeds where also planted to try and increase pollinating insects, bees and butterflies. 

The edge before planting
Area before planting
Ready for planting

The ground was prepared by removing the grass and rotovating to make it easier for the volunteers to plant the 300 shrubs and trees. Planting day was a warm sunny day in November it was also the start of National Tree Week. This is a annual event ran by The Tree Council whose network of Tree Wardens organise community tree planting events nation wide. http://www.treecouncil.org.uk
Turn out was very good some 40 to 50 volunteers and children turned out with Jon Stokes from The Tree Council running the planting day. But to my surprise he also brought all the staff from The Tree Council including the new CEO of The Tree Council Sara Lom. http://www.treecouncil.org.uk

The Tree Council gang

The children from the local playschool The Woodland Owls kept a watchful eye also assisting with the planting. Part of the Tesco Bag Grant was to buy the playschool various items of bug hunting equipment like butterfly nets, microscopes and I.D books. They plan to inform me of any bugs or butterflies they find so far we have had a stag beetle, Holly blue butterfly and a robin I don’t think they got that in the microscope.
Another important role they will play is to monitor the fruiting area and report back when the wildflowers appear.  

Jon keeping everyone busy but safe
Woodland Owls planting
Fruit bush’s going in

We could not have a better day for the planting event wonderful sunny shine and a great atmosphere the children enjoyed them selves and the grown ups where well behaved.
The following days it rained everyday which was great for watering in the plants.

Community area sign
One section of the finished project
Another completed area

Trees and Fruit Bushes

Apple Cox Malus 

Blackcurrant Ribes Baldwin

Gooseberry Ribes Captivator Red

Gooseberry Ribes Invicta

Pear Pyrus Conference Maiden Quince

Redcurrant Ribes Laxton No1 

Whitecurrant Ribes White Versallies

Blackberry Rubus Quachita Thornless

Raspberry Rubus Autumn Bliss

Blackthorn Prunus spinosa

Dog Rose Rosa canina

Malus Everesta


3 thoughts on “Engaging Children with Nature

  1. Lovely blog Dick! It was fantastic to meet you. I am very inspired by the determination and hard work you and your team have shown. – Holly, The Tree Council


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