It's been a wand-erful time for The Lea School Association as they make a willow arch

Key summary

To coincide with the St Albans Sustainability Festival, The Lea Primary School and Nursery in Harpenden, Hertfordshire planned to run a compost-creating and bug-making event. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the festival was cancelled, so the PTA got their thinking caps on to come up with a different project to keep the community involved in the sustainability effort, a cause which is growing in importance and recognition in the St Albans area.

One person can make a difference

Vice chair of the PTA, Katy Hamilton says “one of our parents, Helen Carter, recently went to the UN in Kenya where a tree-planting project was in motion. The focus was on how one tree and one person can make a difference. She thought 'this is something we can bring back to school', so approached the PTA with her plan. There is a push towards sustainability in the St Albans and Harpenden areas which we’re keen to join in with and promote to The Lea community”.

Helen, Katy and the team purchased willow wand saplings from Water Willows to distribute around the school community. 110 wands were sold, which could either be collected, or delivered - if families were self-isolating.

Everyone can be involved

The beauty of this experience, Katy tells us, is that “you don’t have to be a specialist; anyone can be involved. You don’t need a garden to take part – they can be grown in vases or jam jars on a windowsill”.

The team asked for the willow wands to be returned to school when the roots had grown. It’s important for the saplings to be kept well-watered, so this became a great task for the keyworker children who were regularly in school. Katy reports “this has been really successful and the saplings will grow into an arch to welcome everyone into our outdoor classroom”.

Katy’s top tips

  • Keep the plants well-watered
  • If you’re growing the saplings inside, use a clear vase/jar so that children can watch the roots grow – incorporate learning
  • Having a team of people really helps with all the different parts of the project, such as delivering the saplings

Fact File
  • PTA name: The Lea School Association
  • School name: The Lea Primary School and Nursery
  • Age range: 3-11 years
  • Country: England
  • School type: Primary and Nursery
  • Size: c.200

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