Wee Forest makes big impact on Bonnyrigg community

Tuesday April 5th 2022


Bonnyrigg Primary School.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Young people in Bonnyrigg are being given the opportunity to connect with nature by planting and caring for their own ‘Wee Forest’ in their own neighbourhood.

Around 600 native trees will be planted by “Wee Foresters” in an area the size of a tennis court. Capable of attracting over 500 animal and plant species within the first three years, the forest will be looked after by a volunteer Tree Keeper Team.

On Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th April there will be classes from Bonnyrigg Primary who will be helping to plant up a variety of trees. This will provide an opportunity for the local young people to be hands on in the creation of the Wee Forest where they will learn about the different species that are being planted and how they will benefit the local wildlife.

Charlie Cumming, Chief Executive, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust said

“We are delighted to be a local delivery partner for the Wee Forest project. The creation of the Wee Forest in Bonnyrigg is very important for people and wildlife, particularly with it being in an urban environment. It will provide the local community and schools with the opportunity to help tackle nature loss and the current climate emergency as well as contributing to Scotland’s tree planting targets. It will enable people to engage with nature on their doorstep and inspire young people to take an active interest in their local environment.”

The Bonnyrigg Wee Forest is part of a £250K Scottish Government funded project, led by NatureScot, which will see schools and local communities planting 10 Wee Forests across the country this winter.

Supported by Earthwatch Europe, schools and local people will take part in citizen science activities to raise awareness of climate change and the value of urban trees. This will include monitoring the butterflies that use the forests, calculating the amount of carbon captured and measuring the impact that trees have on slowing down the run-off from rainstorms.

NatureScot Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said:

“These Wee Forests are not only a great way to help people connect with nature, but they’ll also help communities become more resilient to the impacts of climate change. We want to inspire the next generation to care for nature, and what better way to do this than to grow up alongside their very own forest.”

Steve Andrews, CEO, Earthwatch Europe said:

“Getting communities involved in citizen science where they live is a vital step in understanding and solving our planet’s environmental crises – with Wee Forests, communities can collect the data we need on their doorstep.”

Bonnyrigg Primary, Acting Deputy Head Teacher Jamie Dougal said:

“The pupils are very excited to plant the trees and support hundreds of wildlife species. The children can watch the trees grow and mature – just like them – in coming years knowing they have played an important part in helping climate change locally.”

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