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Edenderry European Tree Detectives Success

The Edenderry Student School Council recently received over 200 saplings from the Woodland Trust as part of an ongoing project to enhance their school grounds as well as build upon the schools success in an International eTwinning project with partner schools in Europe.

Mr David Smith who spearheads eTwinning at the school has had students collaborating with European partner schools in a project called ‘ Tree Detectives Across Europe’. The basic premise is that each school would identify a number of targeted local trees to monitor the time of budding. With 0ver 20 schools contributing data from as far north as Latvia, as far east as Turkey, as far south as Greece/Italy and as west as Ireland the global trends in early budding in Europe for a variety of tree species was collected. Using the citizen scientist app iNaturalist to access real scientists and data, the students were able to access quality specialists in the identification of tree species across Europe and plot on an interactive map the various photos of specimen trees at their exact latitude and longitude.

Students linked many curricular activities to the trees including art, maths, science and geography. Calculating tree girth, tree height via triangulation, reflecting on shadow size at varying times of the year due to geographic location and the earths tilt and respective seasons in a temperate zone, bark and leaf rubbings all enhanced the hands on experience of learning outside the four walls of the classroom. This authentic learning targeted the UN SDG’s with specific reference to No. 4 (Quality education), 13 (Climate Action), 15(Life on Land) and 17 (Partnerships). The culmination of the study provided first hand evidence that our trees had significant earlier budding rates than the species historical averages in each country. This proved to our students that the Global warming impact on our trees was evident and real.

Our students were not happy to have just identified this data. They wanted to then take action. They wanted to do something about it to help the planet and their immediate school environment. The school council decided to apply to the Woodland Trust for 200 saplings in order to design and make a school Maze. The thinking was two fold. 1. Offset carbon emissions and therefore assist in the global warming fight. 2. Improve the play area to include interaction with nature. We had also been studying Prof. Howard Gardners Multiple Intelligence theory with a specific interest in the Naturalistic Intelligence. Enhancing students daily interactions with nature in the form of a maze was decided the best option.

Below you can see the maths planning in the form of perimeter and area for the maze and also the students planting saplings for themselves and future students to promote outdoor play and take Climate Action.

The Tree Detectives Across Europe project received a UK and European eTwinning Quality label and was selected as a resource study for publishing in an EU online book ‘ How to Teach Climate Change’.

As a British Council Schools Ambassador, Mr David Smith was also asked to present his work to a Global Webinar on Climate Action.


The project was also shortlisted for the TES Awards in the category, ‘Best use of Technology’ . PAGE 4 Tree detect. Shortlisted

Recently Edenderry students have teamed up with Koen Timmers multinational project..Climate Action Project…and were delighted to see Dr. Jane Goodall , Sir David Attenborough, NASA and many other environmental experts live in the Climate Action Day webinar promoting Hope…in the form of acting to save the planet before it is too late.

Thank you from Edenderry Primary School, County Down, N. Ireland

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