Schools, youth groups and community groups are tackling Northern Ireland’s lack of woodland cover by getting their hands dirty and planting thousands of trees.
Children and adults throughout the country made their mark earlier this year by planting 13,000 trees as part of a Woodland Trust scheme. And it’s not too late to get involved, as free tree packs are now available for planting this November. Some groups have chosen to plant their trees to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, chiming with the charity’s own ambitions to create four large Centenary Woods throughout the UK.
While the groups’ reasons for planting are individual, the benefits are lasting and shared. Trees enhance the landscape, improve the air we breathe, provide homes for wildlife, and can provide sustainable fuel. And yet Northern Ireland lags way behind the rest of Europe when it comes to tree numbers.
Northern Ireland has just 8 per cent woodland cover, compared to the UK average of 13 per cent and the European average of 44 per cent.
Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust, said: “Planting trees is a simple yet effective way to improve our environment, and with this fantastic offer it couldn’t be easier. It’s the perfect way to get people – of all ages – to come together, roll their sleeves up, and really make a difference.”
The tree packs come in different sizes and mix of species, ranging from 30 native trees for a small copse, to 420 trees for an area equivalent to a large football pitch.
Interested schools and community groups can find out more and apply online, before 9 September, at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/freetrees
The tree packs have been generously funded by Sainsbury’s, IKEA FAMILY, and Yorkshire Tea.