The world needs more trees. Trees are warriors in the fight to reduce climate change. They clean our planet, cool our air and lock up carbon. There’s no doubt that children enjoy a pleasant school environment when there are plenty of trees around. Especially at Berkhamsted, a school that’s so passionate about outdoor education.
Trees are prominent across each of our school sites. It is our commitment to increase the number of trees and to continually improve the quality of our natural landscaping.
Developments such as our new Sixth Form Centre has the environment and sustainability at the heart of its design.
Berkhamsted is a special place. The thriving market town serves our urban needs, and mere metres away from the centre sits acres of green space, conservation areas and nearby Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. One truly significant tree in our history has been the acacia tree on Castle Campus. Planted in the early 1800s, the original acacia tree was a prominent feature of not only Gravel Quad, but Grass Quad too.
It was replaced on Armistice Day in 1919 and stood for 102 years before the decaying tree was recently felled in order to keep everyone safe. The tree has been saved though, it’s being turned into beautiful wooden furniture by our Old Berkhamstedian Society. This year on Remembrance Day, the Old Berkhamstedians have kindly planted a new acacia tree to ensure that future generations continue to admire a tree in the same position.
The Pre-Prep children have worked with the Woodland Trust to plant over 400 additional trees on their school site. These children understand the meaning of our school value ‘aim high with integrity’. Some of their Silver Birch trees have tripled in size within 6 months!
But planting and admiring our trees will not alone improve the environment. The school community are taking steps to reduce our footprint on the earth and save trees from being removed from forests. Since the roll-out of Surface Pro and Go devices and the push towards cloud and online services, Berkhamsted School is using significantly less paper. Since July 2019 we have reduced our internal printing by 66% saving 6.8 million pieces of paper – the equivalent of approximately 80 trees! And as we seek to develop our digital admissions process with less physical prospectuses and brochures being shared – this will only continue to increase.
The School Eco committee comprising of Senior School pupils, teachers and support staff are always exploring new ideas. Each one of their initiatives helps to ensure that the school community will function in a more sustainable way every year. Ultimately, our school understands that our behaviour today will influence our environment not just locally, but the world around us too.
It has been our intention for National Tree Week to give the school community a strong message to think about. We are proud of our school, and we believe that our trees truly deserve an extra level of appreciation so that generations of pupils can continue to enjoy the magnificent environment.
Watch: Celebrating National Tree Week