Mayor of Lewisham Helps Students Plant Seeds from Hiroshima

On Monday 20 March, students and staff of Capel Manor College’s Mottingham Campus were joined by the Mayor of Lewisham, the United Nations Association - UK (UNA-UK), and community leaders to plant Ginkgo seeds.

The Mayor of Hiroshima has donated seeds to Mayors around the world to share the healing power of nature that these trees symbolise for Hiroshima’s population. Even after facing the horror of the atomic bombings, the Ginkgo trees sprouted buds again from their burnt trunks, giving citizens hope and the courage to live. These trees represent a call for the abolition of nuclear weapons and for the realisation of lasting world peace – a peace not just between countries, but also between individuals, communities and nature.

Capel Manor College plays a vital role in London’s green agenda, and has helped thousands of school leavers and adults gain land-based qualifications across its five London campuses. Students studying horticulture and landscaping at the College’s Mottingham Campus guided guests on the day in the planting of the Ginkgo seeds that are the first ones from this project planted in the capital. Having this opportunity gives the College’s students insight into propagating rare plants, and an understanding of the importance of trees in landscapes, and what they may symbolise.

Capel Manor College’s Head of Horticulture and Garden Design, Sophie Guinness said: “This is the College’s first time teaching horticulture at our Mottingham Campus and we are delighted to be involved in the Seeds of Peace project. Our students are young trailblazers with a massive future in the horticulture and landscaping industry. We guide and support our students to help get them where they want to be, so that they can work with communities to tackle the threats to their natural environments.”

Seeds of Peace is an initiative led by the Mayors for Peace organisation; its mission is to inspire and cultivate a new generation of citizens to take an active role in building peace both at home and abroad, and in addressing environmental degradation. UNA-UK works closely with Mayors for Peace and promotes peace education and international cooperation to address nuclear weapons and climate change.

Mayor Damien Egan said: “It was a real pleasure to join students at Capel Manor College. The College has been working with UNA-UK and local community groups on this beautiful project to plant Ginkgo trees seeds from Hiroshima, which are symbols for the peaceful world in which we hope to live. Once they are ready to be planted, they will go to Grove Park Nature Reserve where we are working with residents on our plans to create a new urban nature park.”

In Lewisham, local community leaders and the UNA-UK are working with the Mayor’s office and the wider council to create a new district park, with hopes to host one of these Ginkgo trees as a powerful symbol of peace for Londoners to visit and enjoy. Capel Manor College plans to support with this development, its students will help cultivate and develop the park’s natural landscape.

The district park will be on the lands around the Grove Park Nature Reserve, where famous children’s’ author Edith Nesbit lived, and was inspired to write The Railway Children alongside her stories and poems promoting peace and compassion to all living things.