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Yorkshire Times
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4:00 AM 23rd October 2021
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Bradford Pupils Dig Deep To Launch Tree-planting Project – By Royal Appointment!

Green-fingered children at a Bradford school have broken new ground – by planting the city’s first tree to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration in 2022.

St Columba’s Catholic Primary School, in Dudley Hill, was gifted the celebration tree – a golden birch - as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy Project.

This is a unique tree-planting initiative which encourages people across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

St Columba’s was one of 70 schools in the country which were invited to take part in the launch of the project.

Pupils gathered to plant the tree in prime position at the front of the school grounds in a ceremony attended on behalf of the Queen by Deputy Lieutenant for West Yorkshire, Zulfi Karim.

He said:
“This is a community project that aims to highlight the educational aspects of trees and the significance of giving young people access to nature.

“We hope it will encourage everyone across Bradford District to join together not only to leave a lasting legacy but also enjoy the social, mental and environmental benefits that trees give the community. Well done everyone at St Columba’s for being the first of many.”

Anna Gautrey, headteacher at St Columba’s, said:
“We were thrilled to be chosen from all the schools across Bradford as the site for planting a special Queen’s green canopy tree.

“We know that spending time outdoors improves children’s happiness, well-being and willingness to learn.

“We also hope getting involved in the Queen’s project will inspire them to be our future custodians of green spaces, forests and woodlands.”

They were joined on the day by Mel Frances, who is the Bradford coordinator for the Trees for Cities charity, a partner organisation in this initiative.

Mel said:
“St Columba's is a very enthusiastic school and works hard to utilise its grounds so that pupils get the chance to connect with nature.

“They are working with us on our first Planting Healthy Air in Schools project outside of London to create an oasis of green infrastructure. This involves testing design and planting techniques to screen airborne pollution.

“It is also one of 50 schools in Bradford to be participating in the Tree for Every Child primary school programme in collaboration with Bradford Council this year.

“It is an exciting time for tree planting in Bradford.”

#The QGC is not just for schools - everyone is invited to take part and it is easy to get involved – whether you are an expert gardener or complete novice there is something you can do.

This ranges from individuals planting trees on their private land, community planting projects, schools planting trees on their premises and businesses setting up tree planting projects with employees.

The QGC encourages tree planting to take place during October to March, to optimise the chance of trees surviving and flourishing.