'It was one of the best days of my entire teaching career' says Harborough headteacher after pupils plant over 1,600 trees

More than 30 students teamed up with over eight local organisations to plant about 17 types of small garden tree

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 7:11 pm
More than 30 students teamed up with over eight local organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Harborough Woodland to plant about 17 types of small garden tree – including wild cherry, rowan, silver birch and hazel. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

The jubilant head of a Market Harborough secondary school has declared after helping his “incredible” students plant over 1,600 trees – that was one of the best days of my teaching career.

Dan Cleary, the principal of Robert Smyth Academy, spoke of his joy and his pride after a small army of pupils carried out the bold root and branch green initiative in the Burnmill Road school’s sprawling grounds.

More than 30 students teamed up with over eight local organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Harborough Woodland to plant about 17 types of small garden tree – including wild cherry, rowan, silver birch and hazel.

More than 30 students teamed up with over eight local organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Harborough Woodland to plant about 17 types of small garden tree – including wild cherry, rowan, silver birch and hazel. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

“The whole day went amazingly well.

“In fact it went so well that I’d say without any hesitation what so ever that it was one of the best days of my entire teaching career,” delighted Dan told the Harborough Mail this afternoon.

“Our very own young people at Robert Smyth spearheaded this whole operation, they led the attack.

“At least 30 students trooped out with the likes of me to carry out this stunning scheme.

More than 30 students teamed up with over eight local organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Harborough Woodland to plant about 17 types of small garden tree – including wild cherry, rowan, silver birch and hazel. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

“They spent over six hours out in the cold and the rain planting all of these beautiful trees around our grounds.

“Like me they ended up caked in mud,” smiled Dan.

“But they didn’t give a jot.

“They know that it is absolutely critical that we all live more sustainably, that we all do all we can to boost and improve our precious environment.

More than 30 students teamed up with over eight local organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Harborough Woodland to plant about 17 types of small garden tree – including wild cherry, rowan, silver birch and hazel. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

“But our kids didn’t stay at home just talking about what we should be doing to help save our planet.

“They have ventured out in the worst winter weather and leapt straight into action – they’ve been so proactive.

“And they are leaving an incredible green legacy because these magnificent trees will still be here flourishing long after we’ve left Robert Smyth,” stressed Dan.

“Our young people are so inspiring, they are an enormous credit to their parents and to our wider community in Market Harborough.

More than 30 students teamed up with over eight local organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Harborough Woodland to plant about 17 types of small garden tree – including wild cherry, rowan, silver birch and hazel. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

“They have driven this brilliant project right from the start.

“And they have worked so hard and been so impressive logistically and organisationally to hook up with and work alongside so many different local groups.

“I’m very proud of them all – and I’m sure their families are just as proud of them.

“Very special days like this just make me realise how lucky I am.

“I have the best school headship in the country bar none.

“I said that was the case when I landed the job here,” said Dan, a dad-of-two.

An aerial view of the area with the new trees. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

“And I know it now more than ever.

“Our students are so passionate, so committed and so dedicated about make-or-break local and global issues such as our environment.

“They are actively making our little corner of England so much better.

“I was out there in the pouring rain in my smart suit and wellies getting up to the eyes in thick wet mud as the kids looked on doubled up laughing at me.

“But I wouldn’t have missed a second of it for the world,” said Dan.

He has thanked the following local groups and organisations for swinging behind Robert Smyth’s visionary green blueprint:

Harborough Woodland, Notts Sport, Hammond Arboretum, RJ Tree Services Ltd, The Conservation Volunteers, The Woodland Trust, Woodpecker Tree Services and Harborough District Council Grounds Maintenance.

An aerial view of the area with the new trees. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.