Sidmouth students trained to ID trees for survey

06:30 05 April 2014

Pupils from St. John

Pupils from St. John's School have been recruited by Dianna East to help fill out a tree survey around Sidmouth. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 8806-14-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

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Sidmouth Arboretum – the country’s first civic arboretum – is set to achieve another first as it measures the benefits of trees in the Sid Valley.

The organisation is sending out more than 200 letters across the town council’s jurisdiction to request access for data collection on public and private land.

Scores of students from Sidmouth College and St John’s School are being trained to identify the trees when in leaf.

St John’s School deputy headmaster Mike Burgess said: “As well as the obvious benefits of social responsibility and taking care of our environment, there are also clear educational benefits across the ages and across disciplines.

“Following St John’s participation in the [Sid Vale Association’s] million bulb project earlier this year, we were inundated with volunteers to take part in this most worthwhile of exercises.”

Sue Hurley, head of Sidmouth College’s sixth form, said: “After the bulb planting, it seemed like another great way to get the students involved in the community.”

The school initially looked at involving sixth formers, but when it transpired the work would be conducted after many were on exams, the gifted and talented geographers took over.

The youngsters will work with the Friends of the Byes and Sidmouth in Bloom to identify future planting sites for trees and shrubs.

Councillor Iain Chubb, East Devon District Council’s environment portfolio holder, said: “The work being undertaken by the Sidmouth Arboretum and its many volunteers is amazing.

“It will give us all an unparalleled understanding of the current value of Sid Valley trees, including their potential for mitigating climate change.

The Sid Vale Association Keith Owen Fund is backing the survey costs.

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