The Minister thanked the youngsters who helped to create Caia Park woodland in Wrexham when he visited the area to officially open the fifth Plant! site in Wales.
Plant! is a Welsh Government project which aims to create a sustainable environment and tackle climate change by planting a tree for every child born or adopted in Wales.
The Minister planted a sapling when he met children from St Anne’s Roman Catholic School in Wrexham, who were instrumental in developing the new woodland when they planted many of the growing trees themselves back in March.
Speaking about the initiative, the Minister said:
“Planting more trees will help us to tackle climate change as well as provide other benefits both now and in the future.
“The Welsh Government has set out its commitment to securing a sustainable environment . Encouraging future generations to live much more sustainable lives is key to us achieving that aim.
“By giving children and young people a sense of ownership of the natural environment, and encouraging them and their families to enjoy the outdoors, we can build a better future for us all.”
The Plant! scheme is being delivered on the Welsh Government’s behalf by Forestry Commission Wales, in partnership with Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust).
By planting more trees, the Welsh Government aims to create a Welsh National Forest which will help to fight climate change as the trees will act as a carbon sink.
As the Minister toured Caia Park, young children up to five years old took part in activities led by Forestry Commission Wales education officers and listened to author Julia Donaldson’s tale of the Stick Man, before making their own version of the story’s hero using woodland materials.
Meanwhile, older children followed an animal puzzle trail, learning about what animals and birds will in time come to inhabit this urban woodland, which is owned and managed by Wrexham County Borough Council.
Sharon Daltrey, Head Teacher at St Anne’s RC School, said:
“From coming up with a name for the area to planting the trees themselves, the children have been excited to be part of this community project.”
Working in partnership with Keep Wales Tidy, the children will continue to play an active role in conserving Caia Park, helping to litter pick in and around the woodland and surrounding area.
The Plant! initiative was launched in December 2007 and supports a commitment in the Welsh Government’s Woodlands for Wales strategy to “create a Welsh National Forest of native trees to act as a carbon sink”.
The other Plant! sites are located in Coed Ysgubor Wen near Tywyn, at Coed Bryn Oer, near Tredegar, Cefn Ila, near Usk and Coedwig y Plant, Cwm Garw, near Bridgend.