Newquay Orchard and Tretherras partner with Ecosia and Trees for Cities to plant seven apple trees to grab the attention of world leaders visiting for G7.
On Wednesday 9th June, Newquay Orchard, in partnership with Ecosia and Trees for Cities, planted seven young apple trees with 20 students from Newquay Tretherras with the aim of grabbing the attention of world leaders ahead of the G7 summit – and to remind them of what should be top of the agenda.
Students aged between 13 and 15 worked closely with the Newquay Orchard Education team to plant seven symbolic apple trees of various species on the school’s front lawn; each representing the seven world leaders discussing, among other things, the climate crisis this weekend.
Sarah Anthony, Education Manager at Newquay Orchard, called the project essential: “Through education programmes, Newquay Orchard is committed to increasing biodiversity and encouraging everyone, including young people, to think about where their food comes from.”
“We all need to think about the role that a diverse range of plants have in providing habitats for pollinators, that directly impact our food security. Apple trees are a great example of how trees and plants are essential to our survival and our wellbeing.”
The trees, funded by not-for-profit global sustainable search engine Ecosia and UK environmental charity Trees for Cities, were planted in a circle to signify the communication and collaboration that is needed to lead this change and will serve to call on the world leaders to prioritise the climate for future generations at the G7.
Ecosia is the world’s largest not-for-profit search engine. It has planted more than 125 million trees across over 30 countries worldwide and has 1.7 million UK users – including the community at Newquay Tretherras.
Ecosia’s UK Country Manager, Sophie Dembinski, said: “Millions of young people around the world have helped to restore unique and endangered ecosystems by planting trees with Ecosia, but we can’t solve the climate crisis by tree planting alone. As the world’s largest economies are also the most polluting, it’s vital that the G7 listen to the messages from these brilliant young students and show true leadership to meet the scale of the challenge by taking urgent action to protect the planet for generations to come.”
The students who took part on the day are part of the school’s Eco Committee and are engaged in the fight against the climate. As well as planting the seven apple trees, the students also wrote messages to the leaders on locally mined Cornish slate.
The message to the leaders will be to enforce the point that urgent action must be taken against deforestation and biodiversity loss to protect the climate and forests around the world and that, despite the challenges of Covid-19, the climate crisis remains the biggest risk to future generations to come.
Mason, Year 7 student at Newquay Tretherras, said: “These 7 beautiful trees represent the leaders of the G7 summit but most importantly it is about us as a school uniting against climate change – doing what we can!”
Gemma Lewry, Education Officer at Newquay Orchard, said: “We are excited to be working with a wonderful group of young people just over the hedge from the Orchard. Our education provision, work experience opportunities and combined passion for taking care of our environment sets us all up, together with the school, to lead on some really important environmental projects going forward.”
Richard Higginson, Deputy Headteacher, echoed this: “Tretherras students care deeply about their environment and are determined to be the generation that makes a real difference. It’s been a privilege to see our Eco Team working closely with Ecosia and our fantastic neighbours at The Orchard this morning on an inspiring project that we all care about. These trees will be lasting legacy and will be seen growing at the front of our school, by our community as they pass by, for years to come.”
Cornwall is one of the most beautiful areas of the UK, but it is also one of the most deprived. A combination of seasonal work, a lack of affordable housing and child poverty all mean that over three-quarters of neighbourhoods in Cornwall are more deprived than the national average.
Coastal areas like Cornwall are also more vulnerable to climate change because of rising sea levels, wave heights and accelerated coastal erosion. The tree planting event will allow the students to contribute to the conversations around the climate crisis at the G7 and ensure that local young people have their concerns heard.
The unique event was attended by Newquay Town Councillor and Mayor, Louis Gardner. He said: “On behalf of Newquay as a town, it is fantastic to see that there are local grassroots projects taking action. It’s even more apt that this project is based on the planting of new trees – given the environmental emphasis of G7 – and what a pleasure to see the next generation leading it the conversation on something that will last their lifetimes.”
David Elliott, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities, the UK’s only charity working internationally on urban tree planting, said: “We know that deep and lasting change can only be made if tomorrow’s generation is involved and inspired to take action today.
“We’re supporting the students at Newquay Tretherras School because it’s important that young people feel they have a voice and a chance to make a difference in the fight against the climate and ecological crises. Planting the apple trees is just one element of the brilliant work the students at the school’s eco-committee have already achieved. We hope the G7 leaders see this project as an exemplar of how tomorrow’s generation is making change happen.”
Sarah concluded: “If this project can leave a lasting legacy for future students and encourage other schools or youth groups to take practical action, then that is the biggest impact we can have as educators, environmentalists and, ultimately, humans.