Stepaside ETSS Pocket Forest

SETSS Pocket Forest

By Zoe Ryan

Our Pocket Forest was generously supported by the ‘Get Up and Goals!’ initiative, a pan-European project which aims to support the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda in the European schools. Our project links to the following SDGs – 13 Climate Action – by planting more trees we will capture more carbon. 15 – Life on Land – we hope to increase the biodiversity within the school grounds by planting a mixed forest and pollinators. 3 – Good Health – a connection with the outdoors and wildlife is proven to improve our mental and physical well-being. We hope the forest will be used as an outdoor teaching space or just an area for people to sit  and enjoy some peace and quiet.  

Stepaside Educate Together Secondary School’s Green Schools committee has been working towards creating our own pocket forest for students to contribute and expand the tree plot over the next few years. We started off by preparing the soil by lining the 40 squared meters plot of land with sticks and planting fertilizer and worms into a 20cm trench to prepare the soils for us to plant 120 native trees.   

Once we have planted the trees which we are planning on doing in 2021, they should grow with low maintenance within the next 3 years. By planting our pocket forest, it will contribute to health and wellbeing for example making a healthier ecosystem. We are hoping to plant Sessile oak trees, Silver and Downy Birch trees, Goat willow trees, Alder trees, Rowan trees, crab apple trees and wild cherry trees.  

Here is the process we went through in preparing the soil:

  • We began by digging a trench of 20cm around our land once we did this, we plant sticks, fertilizer and worms to the soil. 
  • We then placed cardboard over the land  
  • Once we did this, we added compost, leaf mulch and wood shaving evenly distributed on top of the cardboard. 
  • We then lined the trench with logs to help tree growth 
  • After this we covered the site with coffee sacks with pegs to protect the soil.  

In January 2021 we are going to plant our trees 30cm apart and assigned to specific areas where we will plant trees and watch their life begin. Hopefully further down the line we are hoping to make an outdoor seating which most of our materials will be recyclable and we hope to give them a new purpose.