Primary school pupils usually spend the run-up to the festive season making presents and learning about the Nativity story – but a farm near Newton Stewart offered a unique outdoor learning experience to find out how their Christmas trees are grown. Garrocher Farm, at Creetown, welcomed nine primary school parties during December, when plantation manager Martin MacKenzie explained to the young visitors all about the parts of a tree, how the trees are grown, and how to recognise the main species – fir, pine and spruce. The farm owned by James Craig Farms Ltd, which is a member of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, last year provided the Christmas tree for 10 Downing Street. It also supplies the Ritz Hotel in London with its tree each year.
Catherine Midgley, of Countryside Learning Scotland, who organised the learning programme, said it turned out to be a very successful pilot scheme. “Countryside Learning Scotland promotes the countryside as a place of employment, and this farm is a good example of that. The children learned an awful lot about how the trees are grown and managed in a range of activities that linked to the curriculum for excellence outcomes. They had a wonderful time and the farm kindly delivered a Christmas tree to each participating school which went down very well with the teachers!”.