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15th November 2019

An exciting new initiative which looks to bring the city’s schools together whilst tackling climate change both in the UK and in Brazil is being developed rapidly.

Three members of the group

Three members of the group

The project, led by St Brendan’s Geography teacher Sophie Preece and Danny Diskin, founder of the Redenerative Agroforestry Impact Network (RAIN) brings together a group of environmental experts, enthusiasts, land owners and researchers; all of whom are determined to get the project started quickly.

Gathered in a Geography classroom at St Brendan’s, the first meeting saw the group of 16 begin to discuss their aims of the exciting project. Members of the group include Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy, Yara, a tree planting expert and Woodland Trust volunteer, Carmel; owner of a tree nursery in Bristol, environmental journalist and Extinction Rebellion reporter James, John from the Woodland Trust, Gabriel and Richard; both of whom run tree planting projects in Bath and Kent, Tom and David who are both involved with the Scouts network and run outdoor youth adventure groups, founder of SXS Events and landowner Johnny and two St Brendan’s students.

It was the perfect blend of passionate individuals and rapidly the group saw the project begin to grow and develop in front of them. The plan is now to develop an initiative which can be rolled out and adopted by schools across the city. Saplings will be grown in schools across Bristol who act as nurseries for the trees, which will then be taken by students at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College and planted on nearby land, very kindly donated by Johnny Palmer. As well as working to combat climate change, the innovative project will bring together school children and the community, as well as helping to develop a broader and balanced curriculum which gets young people outdoors.

The aim is to continue the cycle year after year with the ultimate vision being a Bristol Schools Forest. Students; both children and young adults, can continue to visit the land to see how the trees are growing, investigate the wildlife and carry out carbon tests.

Alongside planting trees, a Just Giving page will be set up and fundraising activities carried out for RAIN by the St Brendan’s students within the College’s Zero Carbon society. RAIN is a valuable organisation supporting reforestation and agroforestry projects in Brazil. Whilst the group plants trees in Bristol, it aims to simultaneously raise funds so that similar projects can continue across Brazil.

Work will continue on the project next week, when St Brendan’s students visit the Brislington land which has been donated. If you feel like you could contribute to the project in any way; through land donation, school pairing, expertise or time, please do not hesitate to contact the College and ask to speak to Sophie Preece.