Landscape use of trees in schools

Schools are a major property owner within our cities and can contribute immensely towards creating an urban forest.  In South Africa, there is still a big difference between ‘leafy’ privileged areas and the more ‘barren’ under privileged areas.  This situation is undergoing change as emphasis is being placed on planting more trees to provide social and environmental benefits.

Schools provide ideal locations for greening as they often have large, open areas for planting trees.  These spaces are often under-utilised and by planting trees the following benefits can be provided.

  • Creating a wildlife habitat – Bringing nature into an urban setting – birds, squirrels and insects will be attracted to a tree rich area
  • Shading– Shady retreats can provide pockets for solitude or reflection while adding protection from the sun
  • Soil stabilisation – Trees can prevent erosion and encourage stability on slopes
  • Improved recreational opportunities – Outdoor play areas can be created with sand boxes
  • Educational opportunities – Life cycle of trees and seasonal changes can be observed
  • Improved air quality – Trees provide oxygen, removes carbon dioxide and can filter pollutants
  • Temperature management – Planting deciduous trees fairly close to buildings will act as a natural air conditioner. During summer buildings will be cooler and in winter the sun will provide additional heat in class rooms
  • Reduced storm water runoff
  • Aesthetic value of trees – The beauty of trees, whether foliage, flowers, bark or form add a softness to our stark urban landscapes