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Deforestation is a huge problem in South Luangwa with most of the timber used for building or firewood so we encourage schools to plant trees around the buildings for shade and where possible, fruit. 
 
We believe that it is important for the children to be actively involved as this gives them a sense of ownership and pride in the trees that they plant.  Hopefully, the lessons learned will go with them and result in the nurturing of trees around their homes and villages. In June 2011 we started our first 'school forest' at Katapila Community School.
 
Planting Trees at Katapila Community School
When Elmtree School in the UK offered to fund a tree planting scheme at their twinned school here in South Luangwa we fully supported the idea and so did Katapila's teachers and pupils. The kids were very excited and brought along huge hoes to dig the holes for the trees. After splitting the school into twelve teams we put each in charge of its own area and gave them a set of colour coded buckets for watering. As the pupils would be responsible for the care of the trees we felt it important that they learn from an expert and Chunyu Tree Nurseries lent one of their staff to instruct the pupils in their own language. 
 
Planting Day
After nurseryman Stephen demonstated how to plant a tree he gave each team a lesson on its care. Each of the two hundred children  listened carefully before they eagerly set about their task. And it seems that they have all taken their responsibilites very seriously as ever since they have been working hard each day to keep the trees well watered. 
 
Stephen will be visiting the school regularly to give further instruction and encouragement and keep an eye on 'his' trees. After 12 months of nurturing the members of each team will receive a prize for every healthy tree in their ‘forest’.
 
Partnering through trees
Elmtree School didn't leave themselves out of the conservation lesson either. Whilst we were busy planting trees in South Luangwa the teachers and pupils at Elmtree School were working hard planting trees in their playground in the UK. Over the next twelve months the pupils at both schools will exchange growth reports and photos of their trees.
This tree was planted on 21st June 2011 
The same tree just 10 weeks
later
Less than one year on, the same tree in  February 2012

 

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