A partnership between university students and primary school children that aims to iincrease awareness of the environment was unveiled in Leeds today.
'Barking up the Wrong/Right Tree', run by arts and social change charity Space2, looks at the relationship between trees and books, from the origins of paper-making and the invention of print right through to the current environmental crisis.
The project is a partnership between students from Leeds Beckett University School of Design and 30 year five pupils from Allerton CofE and Thorpe Primary Schools. It has been partly inspired by Dr Seuss’s book the Lorax in which twelve-year-old Ted lives in a place virtually devoid of nature.
It also highlights the environmental role of trees, and inspires a love of nature and books. Children and students have gained insight from walking in local woods, exploring Leeds Central Library’s collection of old books and working with storyteller Matthew Bellwood. The children have also visited Leeds Beckett University to use its state of the art equipment, and take part in printing and paper-making workshops.
The central image of the exhibition is that of the tree where the students created a series of three dimensional trees from which the children have hung items that they have created, including books, leaves, handmade paper and nature prints. Pupils will also be planting saplings in their communities and school grounds with the help of local volunteers.
Deborah Park, headteacher at Thorpe Primary, said: “The children have got so much from this project on so many levels; from finding out more about University and believing that they could one day attend, to exploring the relationship that we as humans have with the natural world and how we can articulate that.
“From the school’s point of view the children have grown in confidence, which has helped them with their work across the curriculum. The students at Leeds Beckett have been wonderful and we feel that this project is just the start."