Parliament Hill School pupils plant 'feminist orchard' in climate project

Pictured from left: Alice Rochetti, Hani Ali, Maisy McKenzie and Helena Albright

Pictured from left: Alice Rochetti, Hani Ali, Maisy McKenzie and Helena Albright - Credit: Polly Hancock

Pupils from Parliament Hill School planted a “feminist orchard” on Saturday, with each tree to be named after an inspirational woman throughout history.  

More than 30 students from Years 7 to 9 helped plant 11 fruit trees in a circle interspersed with the flower dog-rose.

Seven members of staff also chipped in as students from the all-girls school laid wildflower turf and dug a pond. 

The names of the trees will be submitted by pupils and decided on by the school’s climate action group during a ceremony in which plaques will be laid later this year. It is planned for these names to then be put on a bench made out of recycled materials. The plaques will be funded by local business Two Chicks. 

A statement from the Year 8 climate action group said: “Our 'feminist orchard' is part of our plan to make our environment more animal friendly with wildflowers and a pond but it is also important to create a space for student wellbeing and reflection.  

Planting an orchard and meadow area at Parliament Hill School on 24.04.21.
Bringing turfs of the mea

Pupils and Joanna MaCrae (centre), the director of Power Up North London - Credit: Polly Hancock


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“We want everyone to feel a connection to nature and are asking the whole school to nominate inspirational women to dedicate an apple tree to. Each tree will have a plaque explaining the dedication.  

“It is important to us that we show that when we all work together, we can tackle great challenges like climate change, air pollution, gender equality and loss of biodiversity in the same spirit that we have all shown by pulling together to get through the pandemic.  

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“We are looking forward to nurturing our orchard and planning lots more climate action in the summer.” 

The project was supported by Transition Kentish Town and Power Up North London, with attendees including: Cllr Angela Mason, Camden's education lead;  PC Nengi Etela, a safer schools officer; and Rachel Urquhart, Parliament Hill's assistant headteacher.

Pictured from left: Alice Rochetti, Hani Ali and Helena Albright

Pictured from left: Alice Rochetti, Hani Ali and Helena Albright - Credit: Polly Hancock

Stephen Evans, from Transition Kentish Town, said: “We hope this will be the first of many climate and ecological action projects led by students, to imbed sustainability in Camden schools. Camden’s inspiring students showing us all the way.” 

Jo Macrae, the director of Power Up North London (PUNL), said: “This is the first of what we hope will be many grants to support local projects that make our borough a greener, better place to live, work and learn.” 

Catherine Wells, of Think and Do’s Camden forest project, said: “We were so pleased to be able to donate some trees from our Camden Forest 2025 project to this orchard, which aims to plant 2025 trees in Camden by 2025. 

"Over the last three months we have given away over 500 trees right across the borough to schools and housing estates.”

In addition to funding from PUNL, the orchard was also part-funded by pupils selling PPE masks made from upcycled fabrics.

Pictured from left: Elouise Lindley, PC Nengi Etela and Tilly Talbot

Pictured from left: Elouise Lindley, PC Nengi Etela and Tilly Talbot - Credit: Polly Hancock

Eva Roberts fitting the meadow grass turfs

Eva Roberts fitting the meadow grass turfs - Credit: Polly Hancock

Watering in the meadow grass

Watering in the meadow grass - Credit: Polly Hancock

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