Pupils from Belhaven Hill School in Dunbar have been helping environmental group Tweed Forum with natural flood management in the Borders. Fourteen children aged from 9 – 12 years old planted over one thousand trees along the banks of the Shiplaw Burn near Eddleston between Penicuik and Peebles. It is hoped that as the trees grow they will help to improve drainage and reduce surface run-off slowing down the flow of water reaching downstream settlements like Eddleston and Peebles.
The project forms part of a range of natural flood management measures undertaken by Tweed Forum in the area. Project officer Emily Iles commented:
“I was delighted that children from Belhaven Hill School wanted to help plant trees on one of our Eddleston Water Project sites. This project aims to restore natural habitats in the area to improve the River valley for wildlife and help reduce the risk of flooding in Eddleston and Peebles. A big part of that is the strategic planting of native tree species. We hope to raise the ecological status of the river system and help buffer against the effects of climate change. It is now more important than ever to engage the younger generation in these issues. Getting children to learn outdoors allows them to develop opinions informed by first hand experiences; it is also a lot of fun!”
Belhaven Hill’s head of conservation, Tom Rawson said:
"We were delighted to work with Tweed Forum on such an important project. Flood prevention is an issue that needs to be dealt with now. Tree-planting is an activity that children really enjoy. It is exciting to think that their work will have an increasingly beneficial impact as the trees grow. Many years from now the children that planted them will be able to return and see the results of what they achieved on Sunday afternoon."
The project formed part of an ongoing programme of environmental events and activities that has seen the school win the RSPB’s Nature of Scotland Award, the Woodland Trust’s Gold Award and a highly commended award in the Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards for wildlife conservation and outdoor education. The school is currently nominated for both the “Conservation and the Environment” and “Education” awards in this year’s Scottish Rural Awards.