Unesco Green Citizens

Miyawaki forests for urban schools

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Project begin: 22/07/2021

What if school children planted trees in the city? According to Grey Coupland, a young Australian scientist, when children can grow a forest, they discover that they have the means to do something for the environment.

Leading organisation: Harry Butler Institute
The country where the team is based: Australia
Covered Countries: Australia
Theme: Biodiversity, Education for Sustainable Development
Sub-themes: Cities, Climate change, Environment, Forests and desertification, Gender equality and women's empowerment, Participatory science/citizen science, Sustainable lifestyles, Waste management
Tag: #Women #Youth
Selection: 2021-2022
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Under the guidance of the project leader, Grey Coupland, Schoolchildren in Padbury, a suburb of Perth, Australia, are becoming citizen scientists and discovering that they can do something for the environment. This young ecology Ph.D. holder has set up the Miyawaki Forest school project. This forest becomes a hotspot for biodiversity in an urban setting and has a localised cooling effect.

The children plant a forest, using the Miyawaki method, in their school grounds using native plants. The soil for the forest is remediated prior to planting by incorporating compost generated from food waste provided by the children from their lunch boxes, from local supermarkets and coffee shops. This project enables food waste to be utilised and incorporates a circular system for waste management in the local area.

Concrete effects for schoolchildren

With the help of Grey Coupland, the children take monthly measurements on plant growth rates, soil and air temperature regimes inside and outside their forest, collect data on animal diversity in the forest.

The children are seeing the benefits of a circular food waste management system and tangible environmental results: growth of their forest, cooling of the local area and increased biodiversity.

In 2022, eight more forests are to be planted in other Perth schools and this will include the school children, broader school community and the local areas.

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