UBoC decided to arrange for at least one Terrific Tropical Tree to be planted in Africa for every school sending Terrific Scientific data to the University of Leeds. In the end, the figure turned out to be 20 trees per school!
Terrific Scientific was BBC Learning’s science project for 2017, and UBoC was delighted to be a partner with LEAF in the Trees experiment, which took place in May.
In the experiment, children from the UK’s 25,000+ primary schools found out why trees are important for the climate, oxygen, biodiversity, flood prevention, air quality and more, and then surveyed the trees that grow in or around their school.
As well as taking measurements and identifying the species from leaf charts supplied by The Woodland Trust, they also estimated the number of trees on site so they could work out roughly how much carbon is stored at their school using a special calculator. These estimates were then uploaded to the BBC’s Terrific Scientific map, and the raw data sent to the University of Leeds, so we could calculate the valuable services that trees at primary schools across the UK are providing.
Learning about climate change can be quite worrying, so we wanted there to be a tangible legacy to show that we can all help to reduce the effects of global warming by reducing our carbon emissions and supporting the planting of trees. We also wanted to provide good news stories that the children can follow over time about how schools, families, foresters and scientists in the tropics – where trees work much harder in terms of carbon storage and climate change mitigation than trees in the UK – are playing their part too.
School visitors might like to explore our Greenery Machinery page to find out more about the role of trees and plants in the carbon cycle, why tropical trees are especially valuable, and how schools can help by reducing their carbon emissions.
There are four Terrific Tropical Tree projects – in Tanzania (sponsored by Samuel Grant Packaging), in Kenya (sponsored by Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate), and in Uganda and Madagascar (both sponsored by private donation via UBoC).
Terrific Tropical Trees: Tanzania
The 4,000 Terrific Tropical Trees sponsored by Samuel Grant Packaging in Tanzania form an extension to the Udzungwa Forest Project, where research (sponsored by UBoC and Flamingo Land) is being carried out by Dr Andy Marshall from the University of York, who is also the Director of Conservation at Flamingo Land. In partnership with rural villages in a newly proposed protected area, the project will restore former forest land by clearing weeds and planting – including by local schoolchildren – a large number of trees. The trees are being grown from seed in association with the Tanzania Tree Seed Agency and the Millennium Seed Bank, using a combination of nursery and laboratory seed germination trials, satellite mapping, and experimental plots to develop scientifically-validated methods which can encourage regrowth of a native community of tree species, which over time will mimic the original forest composition as closely as possible.
Samuel Grant Packaging are committed to reducing the impact that packaging has on the environment. They help their clients to reduce packaging consumption and waste and advise how all parts of the packaging process can be recycled and reused. Samuel Grant Packaging’s award-winning sister company, Marmax Recycled Products, reuse milk bottles to create high quality, durable, maintenance-free outdoor furniture and play equipment.
“Samuel Grant Packaging are delighted to support this project. It’s really important to us to give back to the environment, and it’s great to be able to further cement our partnership with UBOC and our local university.” Andrew Grant, Managing Director
UPDATE: The field team has started their preparations for next year’s nurseries.
Terrific Tropical Trees: Kenya
Thanks to their Trees for Life campaign Bettys & Taylors have been planting trees around the world since 1990. Right now they are working around Mount Kenya – a vital tea growing area for the family business. They are already supporting Kenyan tea farmers and schools in a long term project to plant one million trees which can be used to provide food, shade and shelter and improve the sustainability of the farms. They will now help to plant a further 5,000 Terrific Tropical Trees, many of which will be planted with Kenyan schools. The indigenous trees, planted in partnership with the Kenyan Tea Development Agency, will help students to understand the importance of conservation. They’ll also provide shade for the school children to play and learn outdoors.
“We are delighted to be involved in the Terrific Tropical Trees legacy project. From the tree planting work we have done with schools both here in the UK and abroad we’ve seen how much they can help school children to benefit from and appreciate their outside environment. We hope that pupils taking part in the project will enjoy learning about how trees are making a difference to their peers in countries far from their own.” Simon Hotchkin, Head of Sustainable Development
UPDATE: The KTDA are planning to plant the trees in July
Terrific Tropical Trees: Uganda
With funds from private donors, UBoC are planting more than 20,000 Terrific Tropical Trees in Uganda with the International Tree Foundation at The Amuria Schools Tree Planting Project in Eastern Uganda. This scheme encourages local people to value and plant indigenous trees; ‘Save a Seed for the Future’, and aims to raise the awareness of children, teachers and parents about tree planting.
The project will train teachers and children to manage tree nurseries at ten primary schools and so raise 20,000 seedlings of two ideal native trees – Maesopsis and Markhamia – for children to plant in woodlots at the schools, and for parents to plant around their homes and farms.
Terrific Tropical Trees: Madagascar
‘Installing Forest Ownership Spirit in Our Community.’ With additional funds from private donors, UBoC are also planting more than 15,000 Terrific Tropical Trees in Madagascar via the International Tree Foundation. The EDENN (Education, Développement, Environnement Naturel) project tackles key issues in Madagascar: loss of forests and biodiversity, unsustainable land use, and declining livelihoods. EDENN Women and Youth group helps the community protect the forest by planting a carefully chosen range of native and economically valuable trees for their own benefit around it. The project arises from local aspirations: people see that deforestation is having a negative impact on farming and beekeeping.
Dr Cat Scott, Environmental Scientist and LEAF Coordinator said, “Today’s children are going to be the people in 20 or 30 years’ time making the big decisions about how society deals with the ongoing threat of climate change – we think it’s important that they grow up with an appreciation of the way that different parts of our environment are interconnected.”
Tom Bliss, UBoC’S Business Development Coordinator added, “Learning about climate change can be quite worrying, so we wanted to deliver a positive result that the children could feel part of. We chose to plant in Africa because tropical trees regulate the climate much better than UK trees, and investing there will also help hard-pressed local communities with jobs, food and other benefits from the trees. This is also a perfect example how businesses, academics and forest projects can work together for the public good – which is what UBoC is all about.”
UPDATE: Memorandums of Understanding have been signed with the local delivery agency in both Uganda and Madagascar. The start-up date for both was 1/4/17 (running to 31/3/18), and the first transfer of funds has been made to both schemes. In Uganda, training of ten teachers has started on nursery establishment, management and tree planting, green clubs have been formed in 10 schools, nursery equipment and seeds have been procured, and nurseries established to raise at least 15,000 seedlings of Maesopsis eminii and 10,000 seedlings of Markhamia lutea. Mr. Samuel Ojelel, Head of Environment Department reports ‘We shall immediately embark on seedling raising asap so that at the onset of second rains in July we are planting.’ In Madagascar, the tree planting season is December to March so there’s more time to prepare the seedlings. First steps are the mobilization of actors and the development of the community and household forest nursery. Ms. Soazara Ranivoarivelo, President Fundraiser says ‘I hope that you will visit us. This would be a great motivation, not only for us but also for the beneficiaries.’
All Terrific Tropical Trees will be protected to ensure they’ll live a full life as climate regulators, but these forests are not officially ‘carbon offset’ schemes, which are much more expensive because there’s an accredited equity between measured carbon emissions and trees planted, to guarantee that an equivalent tonnage of CO2 will be sequestered by that scheme. UBoC works with a variety of forests in the UK and around the world, including both official offsetting projects and other schemes that have been vetted to ensure that their trees will thrive while also delivering additional benefits to the local community. If you’d like to know more about how you can offset your company, your school, your family, yourself or just a specific activity such as a journey or an event, click here.