Over 120 school children from Andover have learnt forestry skills and woodland management thanks to a partnership project between the charity Andover Trees United, and the Englefield Estate.
On Thursday, February 13, primary school pupils from three schools in Andover headed to Estate woodland in Ufton Nervet near Reading to see an ash tree being felled and learn why this is necessary in sustainable woodland management.
The Englefield Estate forestry team were on hand to show the children the range of uses the wood might then have, including demonstrations on how to make firewood and handles for tools.
The session was part of the ‘One Ash’ project organised by Andover Trees United. The children learnt about trees and the biodiversity that they support in 2019, before seeing this ash tree felled. They will then follow its journey as it is transformed into resources that we use in everyday life.
Wendy Davis of Andover Trees United explained: “We want to help children understand the connection between the forests that they enjoy exploring and the things they use day-to-day.
“We have found that there is a perception amongst young people that cutting down any trees is bad, perhaps as they learn about deforestation at schools, and of course this type of tree felling is unacceptable. We want to teach them that when woodland is managed sustainably it provides a valuable natural resource, as well as spaces that we can all enjoy and where plants and animals can thrive.”
The children will follow the wood as it is worked into furniture, tools and other items. An exhibition of all the finished products, along with documentation of the process, will take place in Andover in 2022.
Richard Edwards, Forestry Manager at the Englefield Estate, said: “To allow our trees and woodland to thrive for years to come, it is important that the next generation understand the time and expertise that goes into managing areas like this. All of our woodlands are managed under a long-term plan which ensures that a sustainable timber crop is harvested and new trees are planted and cared for.
“It was great to see the children so engaged with the lifecycle of the tree and discovering how many everyday items that they use might have come from a tree like this one. They all really enjoyed planting new trees too and we hope to have inspired them to look after the countryside around them.”