Back at the beginning of November I attended the annual Forest Education Initiative Scotland conference. It took place in Dunkeld, which is one of the places in Scotland to see the leaves change colour and become immersed in the beauty of Autumn.
Perhaps my favourite activity was a short, practical session offered by the Abriachan Forest Trust. They manage a community woodland beside Loch Ness. Prior to the event, some volunteers had been uprooting the non-native Sitka Spruce seedlings that grow prolifically in any part of Scotland where this tree was once planted (and still is) for commercial use.
Rather than chucking these seedlings on a compost heap, the Trust allows a local school to use them as an enterprise project. The seedlings are planted in pots and then decorated and sold to raise money for more environmental projects.
Here’s a tub full of sitka seedlings ready to be decorated!
The young sikta has soft, bright, green needles unlike the adult version where the steely blue glint of the needles warns you that they are lethally sharp.
There was a large choice of natural materials to decorate the trees including cinnamon sticks, mini cones, wood shavings and pot pourri. All available from the back of a car boot!
Here’s my little decorated tree!
And another satisfied workshop participant!
So, if your school grounds have unwanted saplings, this sort of activity can be an interesting way to use them for different seasonal celebrations. Who knows…we may end up with many bonsai enthusiasts in years to come!