This is one of The Tree Council’s 60 educational tree planting schemes with children that
were inspired by the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Each tree, provided by The Tree
Council, was chosen and planted by volunteers in the community.
With two Year 5 classes at Stanford Primary School in South London studying a topic called Talking Heads, which focuses on
the legacies of British monarchs, the opportunity to plant a Diamond
Jubilee tree brought a present-day link to the project.
Merton Tree Wardens and a volunteer wildlife enthusiast suggested that a common walnut tree (Juglans regia) would provide a focal point for the local community as well as interest for the children of Stanford for years to come.
To introduce the project to the classes we used a washing line and pegs to make a time line of a few significant dates from the last hundred years. We put in the World Wars I and II, the approximate dates of the building of the houses in the area (1920s to 1930s), the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and the building of Stanford School in the 1970s, in what is now the London Borough of Merton.
We pored over maps to compare the area around the school over the last hundred years. In 1913 only fields and a few boundaries were marked, whereas maps of the 1950s show the local houses that had been built in the 1920s and 1930s.
We also studied various photographic documents of the area over time. The children were surprised to see pictures of the streets they knew well, taken soon after the houses had been built, showing unmade roads.
We also looked at adverts from newspapers of the 1950s: the price of toys and the style of televisions, with their 9-inch screens, engendered much discussion.
We interviewed a local resident who has lived in the area for many years. She told us how the way of life has changed. We discussed the way children spend their spare time today with electronic games and television, although many of them
also claimed to spend much time
When we planted the tree in the morning of Friday 6th December 2013, the weather was kind to us – cold but sunny.
A member of the borough council’s Tree Department, who came to help with the planting, told us about the tree and showed us photos of the leaves and flowers and a mature walnut tree. We handed round walnuts in their shells and opened them to make sure the children knew as much as possible about the tree they were planting.
Pupils also made a time capsule which was placed a few metres from the walnut tree, to be retrieved at a date in the future when they and the tree have all matured.
Children, staff, visitors and volunteers all worked hard on this enjoyable project and we thank The Tree Council for giving us the opportunity of celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in this way.
Photographs - top to bottom:
- 1. Preparing the ground for the new arrival.
- 2. Welcoming the Jubilee walnut tree.
- 3. Preparing the ground for the new arrival.
- 4. Studying old documents and photographs.
- 5. Trying out crowns made to celebrate the Jubilee.