Mount Wise Primary School in Plymouth, the first ever school to have a Micro Forest. The first of many to come...
Myself and the creator of My Wacky Forest, Steve Warren-Brown just before we read the first book to eager pupils.
At the beginning of April 2022 children planted hundreds of trees in a pioneering move which could see every city school have its own woodland. Pupils at Mount Wise Community Primary School planted more than 220 trees - including oak, willow, hawthorn, rowan and other varieties.
The Mount Wise micro-forest was planted using a method developed by world-renowned ecologist Dr Akira Miyawaki, which means it has the potential to grow 10 times faster, be 20 times more biodiverse, and up to 30 times better at absorbing carbon compared to more traditional ways of creating woodland. The end result will deliver benefits for the environment and air quality.
The micro-forest project started in 2021 when the school wanted to breathe new life into an overgrown and unused playground. It put out a plea for help at the same time YGS Landscapes was looking to create Plymouth’s first urban micro-forest.
Volunteers, including Plymouth Albion rugby players, provided time, labour, equipment, and donations. Stonehouse-based charity Millfields Inspired backed the project as part of its Widening Horizons schools programme, which is expanding into Devonport. Plymouth businessman Nigel Pay acted as project manager.
The finished woodland included a forest school seating and learning area, to help children study and engage with the environment. Every pupil had a gift pack of the first three books in the series.
I even had a chance to read the first story, Super Mushi, to two Year 2 classes, with Steve reading the facts from each page.
In future, included with the micro forest plants and maintenance and the first three books would be garden stakes, stickers and badges and a school placard. Two pull-up banners would greet the pupils at the gate on the day of planting.