Pupils from Skelton Primary School Eco-team did their bit for World Environment day by getting their hands dirty as part of Skelton Community Orchard project supported by RCVDA, Neighbourhood Action Partnership and Banks Community Fund.
A group of local people have been working with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust to turn a piece of overgrown and unused land into a community orchard. The first phase is almost complete with clearance and a new path in place constructed by Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and its Coastal Communities apprentices. The group have continued the hard work to clear the site ready for the planting day. Pupils from the school spent a morning on the site working with the Friends of Skelton Community orchard to plant 300 hundred wildflower plug plants in preparation for a species rich wildflower area that will be attractive to bees and butterflies as well as providing colour for visitors. Species planted included Kidney Vetch (food plant for the Small Blue Butterfly), Small Scabious (an excellent nectar source) and Red Campion. The plug plants were supplemented with the pupils sowing 1000’s of wildflower seeds at the same time. If you want to improve your gardens biodiversity visit http://www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk/ for more information.
The final phase of the project will start in the autumn when the fruit trees will be planted. Anyone interested in getting involved with helping to manage the orchard in the future contact Joyce White at email@example.com.
Steve Ashton, People and Wildlife Manager, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust who helped to organise the day said “It was wonderful to see young and old working together to create what is going to be a splendid resource for local people. Not only will they be able to come and sit and eat lunch in the orchard they will be able to pick and apple to eat for their lunch as well. The fruit trees and wildflowers will attract a number of butterflies and bees and improve the biodiversity of the site. By involving the next generation it is hoped that the children will care for the orchard in future and also have a positive influence on their peers.”