Local School children, volunteers and local families are helping to improve an area of woodland at West Boldon Lodge by planting 12,500 bulbs and 184 trees!

The Wonderful Woodland campaign, launched in 2016, has been focussed on improving the biodiversity and enhancing the ecological value of an area of degraded plantation woodland with the purpose of converting the area into a stimulating learning environment.

Groundwork STAN has now secured more than £14,000 from a variety of sources, including the Postcode Local Trust, which is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, to undertake the required work. Money also came from the generous donations of supporters and visitors to the site, who have attended fundraising events and bought their own Boldon Bear toy in support of the Wonderful Woodland campaign.

The exciting project includes planting native trees and bulbs along with tree surgery to ensure the existing trees are safe and have space to grow and to allow light to reach ground level to increase ground level plant diversity. The planting project will engage around 200 local people and help to create a connection with nature.

Launching the project, on 23 and 24 January, children from Hedworth Lane Primary School got involved by helping to plant bulbs. The two classes of children visited the centre for a day, learning all about plants and how to look after them. The children also planted snowdrop and bluebell bulbs in the woodland, and planted sunflower seeds to take away and watch them grow.

Tom Mower, Education Programme Lead for Groundwork said:

“Giving young children meaningful time outdoors like this helps to create a connection with nature – by seeing, touching, and experiencing the outdoors in this way, they start to understand it, respect it, and want to help conserve it.

“Being local children, we hope they will be able to return in the spring to see their bulbs flowering, not just in 2018, but for years and maybe even generations to come.”

“We’d also like to thank all of the funders, especially the Postcode Local Trust and everyone who has made a donation for making this project possible.”

Marie Davison, Senior Teacher at Hedworth Lane Primary, said:

“The children loved planting the bulbs in the ‘forest environment’. They all felt involved and excited. We hope to return when the bulbs have grown.”

The children were joined by regular participants of Groundwork’s Green Gym programmes. Green Gym is an innovative project that helps to improve people’s physical and mental health by carrying out practical activities in green spaces such as woodland. The participants were planting a variety of native trees across the woodland over the two days.

It is not too late for you to get involved. During the next stage of the project includes the Love Nature Open Day at West Boldon Lodge, where volunteers of all ages can join in by taking part in fun activities that will help nature and benefit the site. Participants will be able to make bird feeders, bug hotels, and of course plant their own bulbs to help make the Wonderful Woodland. If you want to join in, come along on Wednesday 14th February between 10:00 – 2:00. · More details atwww.westboldonlodge.co.uk