Kenmore and Killin Primary pupils recently joined expert staff from conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland to plant a new native broadleaf wood at Balnasuim Wood on the slopes below Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve on the site of an old conifer plantation.
The activity was sponsored by travel firm Rabbie’s, which runs tours of some of Scotland’s best-loved beauty spots and has well-established environmental credentials.
NTS Balnasuim WoodWebOver two days 40 pupils and staff from the two schools planted trees. A further 28 pupils from Edinburgh’s Leith Primary also travelled to Ben Lawers to help with the project. 
Rabbie’s Chief Executive Robin Worsnop said: “It was such a pleasure to see the primary school children from Killin, Kenmore and Leith enjoying themselves so much. I think this project has really captured their imagination and I hope the stuff they learnt will be with them for a long time.”
 
Hands-On Fun
Ben Lawers Property Manager Helen Cole remarked: “We are really grateful to all the schools in the local area for getting involved in this exciting project which gave them a real chance to get hands on with conservation work and to learn more about the heritage on their doorstep. It was really fun for everyone involved.”
The project is the latest push in decades of work undertaken by the Trust to re-establish important native species in the area – the charity is pioneering the restoration of high altitude willow scrub, endangered in Scotland.
Once established, the wood, which will be mainly hazel, will be coppiced by the Scottish Crannog Centre for use in its weaving and education activities. As part of the project, the pupils also visited the centre to learn more about its work and try out hazel weaving.
Barrie Andrian, Director at The Scottish Crannog Centre said: “We are delighted to support the National Trust for Scotland in this innovative and collaborative project. We look forward to sharing hands-on skills with the school children in the context of our Iron Age ancestors who utilised willow and hazel for many purposes.
“We also look forward to assisting with the long term coppice management of a new hazel plantation which we hope will stimulate the regeneration of traditional rural crafts and create a sustainable supply of hazel much needed to maintain the replica Crannog.”
Ben Lawers is widely known for its outstanding range and diversity of arctic-alpine species and vegetation types. It is important for the very large number of nationally rare or scarce montane plant species that it supports, including vascular plants, lichens, and bryophytes. It also has an outstanding diversity of invertebrates with many nationally rare or notable species.

Pictured here are pupils from Kenmore P5, 6 and 7 at the Balnasuim planting

 

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