Pupils at Rugeley School in Blithbury, Staffordshire are celebrating after winning a Green Tree Gold Award from the Woodland Trust.
The school earned points from the Trust, a nature charity, for a variety of projects within the school as well as outside which saw them turn nature detective and environmentalist. The award recognises involvement in a wide range of "green" activities including tree planting, visiting a local woodland, reducing carbon emissions and recycling.
The Rugeley School pupils said they were keen to look after the forest behind their school, as well as other nearby rural areas in the county. They planted trees, learnt how to use gardening tools, took part in some tree bark rubbing and even hugged trees.
Teachers said the pupils enjoyed using all their senses and going to the forest was a “fantastic” way to keep happy and focused.
The Green Tree Schools initiative has seen more than 7,000 schools sign up since it was launched, offering the opportunity to bring the great outdoors, wildlife and green issues into the classroom – and taking children outside to see their surroundings and appreciate them more.
Charlie Rivers, principal of Rugeley School, said: “The award and its activities gave our students with special needs a fantastic opportunity to spend time in nature working towards the targets the Woodland Trust provides, step by step.
“The students really enjoy spending time in the woodland, contributing in their own way to the different tasks the Woodland Trust asks for. The project helps them to build their self-esteem, and confidence. It saw them working as a team, interacting with each other and learning from nature."
Karen Letten, Woodland Trust schools communications manager, said: “The scheme promotes a range of opportunities, each designed to stimulate a child’s imagination and sustain their interest in woods and trees.
“The achievements of the school are recognised through an awards scheme in which they receive points for taking part in activities. As they reach milestones within the project they will receive bronze, silver and finally an attractive wooden plaque which acknowledges they’ve achieved the environmental accolade of a gold award.”
The charity is dedicated to creating new woodland with help from communities and schools, and protecting and restoring ancient woodland for future generations.
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