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Students put down roots and create a legacy for the parish

May 6th, 2022 7:05 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Anna O’Halloran, Lydia O’Mahony, Alex White and Sean Bradfield were with the gathering at the Riverside Biodiversity Garden in Ballineen during Tree Week 2022.

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PUPILS from two schools in the Ballineen and Enniskeane area have left a lasting legacy in their parish following their planting of 150 native trees in a local bio-diversity garden.

The pupils from St Mary’s Central School in Enniskeane and nearby Ballymoney Nation School collaborated on the planting of the trees to coincide with National Tree Week, which saw them plant a variety of native trees including oak, birch, hawthorn and guelder rose.

Margaret O’Donovan of Ballineen and Enniskeane Tidy Towns Association said this was a fantastic achievement.

‘The theme for National Tree Week this year was “more forest for a greener future” and the project was facilitated and initiated by Thomas Riedmuller from the Hollies Centre for Sustainability in conjunction with us,’ said Margaret.

‘All the planting took place in the Riverside garden in Ballineen which is our bio-diversity and sensory garden.

‘Only native species were chosen for the initiative and the trees were kindly donated by the ‘Tress on the Land’, a charity and not- for-profit project from the Green Economy Foundation in the nearby Manch Estate.’

The project took place over two days and the pupils were first given talks about the benefits of bio-diversity as well as the importance of planting trees.

‘They were told that only 10% of the land here in Ireland is covered by trees, compared to over 30% in Europe.

‘Also of the trees planted here, only 2% are native in Ireland.’

The pupils embraced the initiative so wholeheartedly that some even gave names to the trees which they had planted and said they will come back to ‘mind’ their trees.

‘They found the whole experience very beneficial as they got to learn so much about  the ecosystem and they dug the holes themselves and planted the trees.’

She said that they have now left a lasting legacy for the future in the twin villages and it also aligns with their ethos in Ballineen and Enniskeane Tidy Towns Association, who also have plans to put in a small apple orchard  at the garden in the immediate future.

Meanwhile, St Mary’s Central School is also developing its own school garden with the help of local businesses who have kindly donated timber for the planters, material for the pathways and walkways and weed membrane.

Volunteers parents, including Alan Galvin along with Tom Hennessy and Barry O’Mahony got the first stage of the project underway during the recent bank holiday weekend.

It is expected the garden will be completed over the coming weeks.

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