"Mighty oaks from little acorns grow"

This often-quoted saying attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer is very apt indeed for the YEM’s recent engagement with schools.  Within the catchment of the river Yealm schools have been or will be invited by YEM, working with the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) and Moor Trees, to get involved in growing trees from seed.  

School Tree Planting smallBuilding the Tree Nursery at Cornwood School (Sarah Williams)

These trees will be vital to help construct the wildlife corridor along the river Yealm and to help maintain/improve its biodiversity.  YEM is a longterm project and if we can stimulate the interest of young people then we will have achieved an important objective for the future sustainability of the river and it’s surrounding land.

Thanks to DWT and Moor Trees we are able to provide each school with a kit to to create a mini tree nursery.   Each school is also given be a copy of "The Tree Grower's Guide" bought by YEM from The Tree Council and Moor Trees to help them along the way.  

There are 7 schools in the catchment of the river Yealm and so far YEM has approached and co-operated with Cornwood Church of England Primary School, Yealmpton Primary School and Newton Ferrers Church of England Primary School. The type of engagement varies to meet the need of each school and to fit with their own patterns of learning delivery. 

In Cornwood, Cliff Harris (YEM) and his wife spent half a day at the school working with Sarah Williams, the classroom assistant. It started with a talk to the pupils about the river and then the pupils themselves constructed a mini tree nursery as part of their "Forest School” programme. The pupils each received a plant pot and compost in which they planted a conker or acorn and took them home to be looked after.  When they start to sprout, the seedlings will be returned to the seed nursery at school.

Yealmpton School has also received seed growing materials and planted their own tree seeds in a pot. Kate Hopkins and Keith George worked with the children and will be helping them manage and maintain their tree nursery. 

At Newton and Noss school the Head teacher, Penny Bishop, ensures the school is very conscious of the environment. So, Cliff and Jasmin took the Assembly telling the pupils & teachers all about the river Yealm and why trees are so important to the river. Afterwards the pupils planted their own tree seeds and many of children said that they had also planted tree seeds themselves at home and clearly enjoyed it.

Our thanks to all of the schools and the staff mentioned above and Jasmin whose input has been very valuable indeed, and of course to Cliff who has been the driving force behind this initiative. 

The engagement with schools is not a one-off event, YEM will maintain the relationships established with the schools so far and will continue to provide advice and support.  Although the tree seed collecting season has come to an end for 2022, YEM hopes to engage with the remaining 4 primary schools in the Yealm catchment area in preparation for the next autumn tree seed collection. This includes Wembury, Brixton (St Marys Church of England), Sparkwell (All Saints Primary School) and Sherford Vale.  Indeed, if you are an interested party at one of the remaining school please feel free to e-mail us at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hopefully our efforts will ensure that many more little acorns do indeed become mighty oak trees.

If you are interested in supporting YEM please see our website page  http://yemcorridor.com/index.php/support-us