GOGREEN Planting a tree for every child to create woodlands
A GENERATION of children are growing up in Wales with more woodland to enjoy and a tree planted in their honour thanks to the idea of a Cardiff schoolgirl a decade ago.
Plant! – the Welsh word for children – is a scheme which plants a tree for every child born and adopted in Wales and has created 15 new woodlands across the country since it started.
But the Welsh Government initiative was originally dreamt up back in 2007 by a then 11-yearold Natalie Vaughan, who wrote to her Assembly Member to suggest a good way of making young people think about their environment.
A Welsh broadleaf tree has since been planted for every new birth and adoption in the country, with Plant! recently celebrating the planting of its 300,000th tree.
Kate Thomson, Plant! co-ordinator for Natural Resources Wales, which runs the programme, said: “Plant! is helping to create new community woodlands for the children of Wales to visit with their families and watch them grow as they do.
“We hope it will encourage young people to think about their environment and the role they have in managing it sustainably.
“Trees are an important part of our environment. They soak up floodwater, absorb carbon and other pollutants and provide a home for wildlife.”
Each month, Natural Resources Wales arranges the plantings, which include oak, ash and willow trees.
A letter and certificate is then sent to every baby, confirming the planting has happened and where their tree is located.
Since April 2014, the Welsh Government extended the programme to plant an additional tree in Uganda for every child in partnership with the environmental charity Size of Wales.
Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “Trees are invaluable to society as they contribute to our health and wellbeing and they play a key role in regulating our climate.
“Plant! has done so much to raise awareness of the importance of the sustainable management of our natural resources, for the benefit of the present and future generations.
“It engages young people and improves their awareness of the environment, climate change and global citizenship.”