All of Bristol’s 36,000 primary school pupils will get the chance to plant at least one tree as part of a global initiative launched by the pop star and actor Olivia Newton-John.
Bristol is the first city in the world to roll out the One Tree Per Child initiative, which will also involve experts going into schools and talking to youngsters about the environment.
The city council will cover the cost of the trees and tools. If a school does not have spare land to plant its children’s share of the trees, the authority will find a plot for them.
Newton-John, who has planted over 10,000 trees at her home in Australia, said: “I believe that society benefits when young children get out, get their hands in the earth, and plant trees. It’s so exciting for us that Bristol will be the first city in the world to roll out the One Tree Per Child project. In years to come, the children who plant a tree will be able to look back and say: ‘That was my tree – I really made a difference!’”
Bristol’s mayor, George Ferguson, said the city’s role as the European Green Capital for 2015 made it the ideal place to launch the scheme. He said: “Planting trees and shrubs is a great way for school children to connect to the environment and their local community. As a child’s tree grows, their commitment to the environment and their local community grows as well.”
Lord Stern, author of an influential report on the economics of climate change and patron of One Tree Per Child, said he hoped Bristol would be the first of many cities and towns around the world to adopt the policy of planting one tree per child.
He added: “Having tens of thousands of children involved in tree planting will make Bristol a wonderful role model. If other cities follow Bristol’s example by planting one tree per child, millions of trees could be planted around the world.”
The scheme was being launched in Avonmouth, Bristol, on Monday morning. Newton-John was not attending in person. Instead the co-founder of the project, environmentalist Jon Dee, was there with the mayor, the television presenter Naomi Wilkinson and children from three local schools.