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Samworth students making a difference

Posted onPosted on 6th Aug

Students from Samworth Church Academy, Mansfield, descended on Garibaldi Woods for their seventh annual Make A Difference Day (MAD Day).

Students went Himalayan Balsam picking in forestry areas near their school to help conservationists tackling the invasive species.

Year 7 student Jade Greenhill said: “We were ripping up the invasive Himalayan balsam, because it takes away nutrition from the trees and other plants. I think it’s a great community project to do for people, nature and wildlife.”

Strategic director at the academy Ian James, who first put the idea into action, added: “This is a very special event we hold annually.

“Our local environment has some beautiful areas that should be protected and cherished.

“Part of that is management and, over the years, the students’ work in the woods around Garibaldi has had a positive impact; with fewer balsam areas to pick.

“This is also an opportunity for students to see and be in some wonderful areas on their own doorstep, which we should all be willing to protect and preserve for future generations.”

Amy Chandler, community ranger for Forestry England, who has been involved with the project from the start, said: “It really has made a difference over the years. Himalayan balsam is a non-native species and has travelled down the River Maun and spread into the woods.

“Now there are only small clusters in some areas.

“I am very keen that people understand why we need to do this. A lot of people just think the plant is pretty and good for bees.
“MAD Day is a great way to educate a lot of people in a short space of time about how they can play a part in dealing with the problem. It is well worth doing.”

Holly Marriott, design and technology teacher, said 147 students took part.

“The landscape is changing as less Himalayan balsam is spreading now,” she added.

“A few years ago, there were lots of areas completely taken over by Himalayan balsam, and a lot of those areas are completely clear now.

“The students have made a difference on the day and also over the years, helping native plants to absorb nutrients from the soil and ensuring their survival.

“The day went very well, students were engaged with the reasons why they were there, and they had fun giving back to their local community.”

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