Pupils at Our Ladyâ€™s Primary School in Stoneyburn put down some new roots recently. Assisted by SRUC Oatridge horticulture students they started planting out their community orchard in the school grounds.
The pupils were taking part in the exercise as part of their schoolâ€™s Eco Award and the 40 trees, which were donated to the school by the Stoneyburn and Bents Future Vision Group as part of the village improvement, were all Scottish native apple trees.
The horticulture students, as part of their course work, have to demonstrate their skills in tree planting. Course Leader, George Gilchrist, said, â€œI can think of no better way to learn the skill than to engage in a real tree planting project through creating an orchard for the school. They worked confidently with the pupils showing them the different stages of tree planting and at the same time were building their communication skills, leadership and teamwork.â€
The students and the children planted a mix of trees, some eating apple varieties and some cooking apple varieties, all specially selected as suitable for growing in Scotland. They should begin cropping well in approximately 3-5 years.
Chair of the Stoneyburn and Bents Future Vision Group, Robert Nisbet, said, â€œWe were happy to support our local school project and donate the apple trees as it will help improve the schoolâ€™s grounds and be a focus for the community, as well as giving the pupils an opportunity of working with students from SRUC Oatridge.â€
The orchard planting is just one of a range of learning experiences that the SRUC students are participating in as part of their horticulture programme which aims not only to get the students to exam standard but also to demonstrate their skills to potential employers.