Ahead of National Tree Week (28th November – 6th December), The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes) has planted trees with Stainton School. The tree saplings were donated by the Woodland Trust as part of their ‘Free Trees for Schools and Communities’ campaign and were planted by pupils of the school on one of ‘The Lakes’ hen ranges at Stainton.
A Twitter announcement from the Woodland Trust alerted ‘The Lakes’ team to the promotion. They immediately contacted Stainton C of E Primary School to see if they would be interested in taking part, offering one of their hen ranges as a space for the children to plant trees.
Stainton C of E Primary School is within walking distance of ‘The Lakes’ packing centre, and the teachers were delighted to have an opportunity for outdoor learning on the doorstep. They were keen to take advice on which were the best tree pack varieties to choose and called upon the Lakes team for help.
Roger Gill, Head of Agriculture at ‘The Lakes’, discussed the packs with Paul Arkle from the Cumbria Farm Environment Partnership. Paul works closely with ‘The Lakes’, advising on ways to integrate environmental and conservation measures into the farming business. They chose the ‘Wild Harvest Pack’ because it includes Blackthorn, Crab Apple, Elder, Dog Rose and Hazel. Paul Arkle said “The plight of bumble bees and other pollinators is a great concern. This pack consists of trees and shrubs that will provide a valuable food supply for a range of wild pollinators, with blossoms from early spring onwards. They will go on to provide fruit for birds and other wildlife in the autumn too. The saplings compliment the young oaks and rowan that are already established on the range.”
21 pupils and a team of teachers and assistants from Stainton C of E Primary School walked to the Lakes Free Range Egg Company on Monday, dressed in wellies and waterproofs and eager to get planting. They were welcomed by Helen Brass who owns the company with husband David and Roger Gill their Head of Agriculture. Helen Brass explained to the class why tree planting is important at ‘The Lakes’. “All our ranges are planted with trees, it encourages our hens to wander out more and it gives them shade and protection. It also benefits the local wildlife including Red Squirrels, Bats and Barn Owls, and makes a healthy contribution to the environment.”
Helen introduced Paul Arkle who demonstrated how to plant the young saplings and talked about the value of these trees to encourage bees and other wildlife. Paul said “The children were very well informed about the importance of trees and bees and they asked lots of questions all morning.”
Mrs Bragg, Class Teacher for Year 2 pupils (5-6 year olds) said “Our pupils get so much from outdoor learning. We have been working on a project that involves food from the farm to the plate, so being able to see where the hens live and contribute to making their ranges better made a real impact. Connecting to the environment at the same time is a real bonus. It also means we have a legacy to follow up on with pupils in the future.”
The Lakes Free Range Egg Company works to ensure there are around 2000 native trees and shrubs on every range where hens produce their free range eggs. They work with their producers and the Cumbria Farm Environment Partnership to develop environmental improvement schemes that enrich the habitats for hens, wildlife and the environment.
For more information about how The Lakes Free Range Egg Company improves their natural habitats, visit our values page. To see more pictures from the Stainton School tree planting day visit our Face Book page .