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Local children see trees in a new light at Duncombe Park
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Five North Yorkshire schools are taking part in a new woodland education project based at Duncombe Park, Helmsley. The partnership between RFS Teaching Trees and Duncombe Park is giving school children in North Yorkshire the chance to learn about trees and woodlands by participating in outdoor acivities in a local wood.

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Pictured: Pupils from Egton Church of England Primary School taking part in a Teaching Trees session at Duncombe Park, Helmsley

Some of the classes who have already taken part have worked with Duncombe Park’s Forest Manager, Tim Tolliss, to decide which trees should be thinned in a particular part of the wood.  Another class used the wood as the starting point for a film script; and younger children have foraged for leaves and seeds, hunted for minibeasts and built bug huts.

Teaching Trees education officer Julia Cheetham said: “I have been working with a group of eleven and twelve year olds who live in an urban area and very rarely if ever visit a wood. Watching these children experience the different sounds and sights of a wood for the first time was truly magical. They couldn't get over the true size of a tree and were amazed to find out how old they were.  I think the children taking part in this project are gaining a greater understanding of woodlands, how they are managed and, above all, why we need to look after them.”

Pam Sellar, a teacher at Egton Church of England Primary School agrees: “Teaching Trees has had a much bigger impact on the children than I could ever have envisaged. It has made them think very carefully about trees and their impact on their lives. Every morning we have had to spend the first part of the day looking at samples of trees, leaves, fruits and seeds they have collected on their way to school.”

Teaching Trees is a project of the Yorkshire Division of the RFS, an educational charity dedicated to promoting the wise management of trees and woodlands. Teaching Trees works with landowners and schools across the North and North East to help children of all ages enjoy and understand woodlands.

The schools taking part in the project at Duncombe Park are: Alverton Community Primary School, Egton Church of England Primary School, Goathland Primary School, Hutton Rudby Primary School, and Ingleby Greenhow Church of England Primary School.

The Teaching Trees project at Duncombe Park comes to an end in November but more sessions are planned for next year. For more information contact Rachel Simmons, Teaching Trees Communications Officer.

Assistance with funding this project has been provided by the North York Moors National Park Authority and the North York Moors, Coast & Hills LEADER Programme as part of the Rural Development Programme for England.