YOUNGSTERS put in a tree-mendous effort in a bid to improve their environment.
Children worked alongside community workers to plant 2,000 trees in just three days at Fulwell Quarry Local Nature Reserve.
Groundwork North East invited volunteers to plant a mixture of oak, rowan, cherry and hazel trees that have been grown at Butterwick nurseries from locally-collected seed.
Students from the University of Sunderland, school pupils and children from Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project (SNYP) were among those to have lent their green fingers to the cause.
Senior project officer, Helen Cheetham, 38, said: “It’s a chance to get people re-engaged with this site. There are a lot of people living nearby and it will be used a lot by the public.
“It’s had its problems with tipping and antisocial behaviour, so it’s nice to give the people here something positive to do.
“In 10 years, this is all going to look very different, but even within three years, these will be noticeable as young trees.”
Julie Foster, 49, youth link worker at SNYP, told the Echo it was a great chance for them to give something back to their community.
“Money is tight for a lot of parents but doing activities like this up here doesn’t cost anything,” she said.
“I just think it’s nice for them to put something back into their environment and as they’ve been saying to me, we need more trees to breathe.
“They love it, they love exploring and the feeling they are giving something back.
“It’s their future. These trees will grow with them and they can say to their grandchildren they planted them. They’ve made their little mark.”
The project, dubbed The Big Tree Plant, was funded by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and is a national scheme to create new areas of woodland across the UK.
Sunderland City Council is to carry out work in conjunction with The Big Tree Plant to improve access to the area, with funding from the Sunderland Strategic Initiatives Budget.