June saw the inaugural ‘Aspen in the classroom’ sessions with four schools in the Almond and Avon catchments – St Mary’s RC Polbeth, Mid Calder Primary, Whitecross Primary and Riverside Primary. Adding to the great success of ‘Fish in the classroom’ – now an established part of our education program – ‘Aspen in the classroom’ helps primary pupils to grasp a better understanding of the river environment and the relationships between the organisms, geography and climate that make it up.
The first session involved a short presentation from our partner organisation, Eadha Enterprises, which introduced aspen, its history and why trees are important to rivers. It was great to recap some of the things that the pupils learnt during ‘Fish in the classroom’ – such as what fish need to survive – and how they are linked to trees.
After the presentation, it was time for the pupils to exercise their green fingers and pot on some young aspen trees. Each school potted on 495 trees which had been micro-propagated using wild aspen material from Galloway and Ayrshire. A legacy of our wider aspen project will be a stock of more local material that can be used for this purpose in the future.
The trays of potted on aspen trees will be looked after by the pupils (and hopefully the janitors over the summer holidays) for the following growing season. In the autumn, if they’ve grown sufficiently, the pupils will plant them by their local burn or river.