Supporting the Next Generation of Environmentalists
Veolia UK has teamed up with Groundwork and Tesco to donate trees and bird boxes for a new campaign to help schools blossom with biodiversity and join a national network of orchards.
Following the call for schools across the country to sign up, Veolia and Groundwork will soon be donating 500 trees and 100 bird boxes to 100 primary and secondary schools.
The potential of trees in urban environments to combat the climate crisis is immense, not only in their contribution to increasing biodiversity and improving air quality, but also in their capacity to mitigate the effects of rising temperatures. Therefore, more trees are needed, particularly in urban areas where temperatures are comparatively higher than rural areas and water is scarce. The extreme heat waves experienced in the UK just this summer, highlighted the impact that global warming has on our local natural environments, with many trees losing their leaves like it was already autumn.
By donating orchards to schools, Veolia is placing the power of positive change in the hands of the future guardians of our planet. School children across the country now have the opportunity to plant their very own orchard and learn how to care for them until they bear fruit, providing them with healthy, locally sourced food.
To further encourage biodiversity within the orchards, Veolia and Tesco have teamed up to donate bird boxes made of recycled plastics. Fifty kilogrammes of hard plastics that were once used to safely transport bananas in the retailer’s supply chain will be recycled to become a home for birds, further nurturing the pupils’ wellbeing through a reconnection with nature.
The campaign is being powered by Veolia’s Sustainable Schools programme which launched during the pandemic to continue its work in educating children and young adults on the importance of protecting our planet and the environment.
Pascal Hauret, Managing Director, Municipal at Veolia, comments: “The extraordinary response to the Veolia Orchard campaign highlights how important trees are, not just for the environment, but for the positive impact they have on the education and wellbeing of school children in our local communities. We’re delighted to be partnering with Groundwork and all the teams look forward to helping this national network of orchards take root.”
Joe McIndoe, UK Partnerships Manager, Groundwork, says: “With the numbers of orchards in the UK in steep decline, we’re delighted to work alongside Veolia to provide free trees to primary schools and begin building this network of orchards across the country. The trees provide many benefits: fruit so that children can have the pleasure of picking and eating juicy, fresh food, shade in the summer and the tools for pupils to learn about nature guided by a handy booklet developed by Groundwork’s landscaping experts. We can’t wait to see the kids planting their trees.”
William Guest, Sustainable Packaging Manager, Tesco, says: “We have no time for waste, so when packaging is needed to protect products in transit and it’s not possible to remove or reuse, we work with partners to find recycling solutions. Veolia and Groundwork have done this with their bird boxes, and it’s great news that the packaging that used to protect our bananas in transportation will become an educational tool for kids across the country and help to protect nature.”
Giovanna Kowalczuck, Veolia Strategic Sustainability & Innovation Manager for Tesco, adds: “This project is a great example of how recycling and innovation plays an important part in the UK Circular Bioeconomy, encouraging biodiversity and supporting communities. Working with our partner Tesco to recycle tricky materials and turn them into sustainable products for schools is a brilliant way of encouraging recycling and contributing to healthier environments for future generations.”
Schools across the country will begin planting their fruit trees this Autumn as part of a tailored learning programme, supported by Veolia.
For more information on how the company supports schools and to discover other partnership opportunities, visit www.veolia.co.uk/schools.