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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Forest School on a Croft and Mass Tree Planting Win Big at Prestigious Woods Awards

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A youngsters’ nursery on a croft and a huge tree project at a secondary school have taken the Schools and Early Years categories at the Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2024.

For the Early Years Award 2024, the winners of the Alba Trees Early Years’ Trophy was NewCroft Childcare and Forest School near Keith, Moray.

Lynne Cameron set up a forest school on her croft where she childminds pre-schoolers and provides after-school care for older children.

The judges said they were impressed with what Lynne had managed to achieve on her own and the “extent of the learning opportunities for the children”.

They added:

“Lynne was so inspiring.

“Most impressively, Lynne runs sessions for other childminders as an opportunity to network and share good practice.”

The runner up for the Early Years category was Johnston Nursery in Kirkcudbright, previous winners in 2022 who were this year praised for expanding their site to allow for poly tunnels, shelter areas, wildflowers, “secret dens” and fires.

For the Schools Award 2024, the winners of the Crown Estate Scotland Schools’ Trophy was Selkirk High School in the Borders.

The judges praised the work of two teachers, Maddy Pope and Anna Johnson, highlighting a “superb enthusiastic duo of staff who know how to nurture teenagers, plants and animals and want to help their young people to do their best”.

The scope of the project was exceptional with one outcome being a mass tree planting at a local park.

The judges added:

“They have created a calm oasis where pupils and teachers alike can grow whilst learning outdoors.”

The runner up in the Schools category was Leader Enhanced Provision @ Duns, which is based at Duns Primary School.

As well as the trophies, there was £500 for each of the winning school and early years entries, and the winners received a magnifying post provided by Caledonia Play. 

A special Tree Pack for winners and runners up was also donated by Alba Trees containing trees for planting or tree growing kits. 

Each winning school and early years entry also received a certificate and a special commemorative wooden display plaque recording their achievement.

Another nine trophies, across five more categories – New Native Woods, Farm Woodland, Quality Timber, Community Woodlands and Climate Change Champion – will be awarded during National Tree Week in November.

The Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards ceremony will be held in a new home, the Scottish Parliament.

In order for judging and the presentation of awards within the current school year, the Schools and Early Years Awards announcements were made this week.

Jean Nairn, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods, said:

“It was heartening to see the range of entries for schools and early years categories.

“Teaching and nurturing children to have a love of trees, woodland and forestry is crucial if the next generation are going to take on the fight against climate change.

“The work we have seen by our winners is helping little roots at nurseries and schools grow into strong branches for the future.

“We now look forward to November and a new home for the Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards at the Scottish Parliament.

“We are very excited to be celebrating climate, community, forestry and farming during National Tree Week.”

The winners of the Schools and Early Years categories have also been invited to the Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards ceremony in November.

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