GOGREEN Plant­ing a tree for ev­ery child to cre­ate wood­lands

South Wales Echo - - GO GREEN -

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.”

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