Many more trees please

Ireland is the least wooded region of Europe and planting trees is a great way for everyone to help the environment. A number of community tree days were organised at in mid and east Antrim by the Biodiversity Officer in the 2012-13 tree planting season and he also provides advice on woodland management and tree care at every opportunity.

In the Larne area, the grounds of Larne Grammar School provided the location for two events organised with an enthusiastic group of pupils in which a traditional farm hedgerow and specimen trees including birch, rowan and crab apple were planted. Another tree day was held at Glynn Park, where children from Glynn Primary School helped create a new area of native woodland with 350 whips. A third tree planting session took place at Antiville Playing Fields in Larne, where council staff on a team building event planted 300 young native trees.  Parks staff also provided enthusiastic support.


At Whitehead in 2012-13, two tree events were undertaken at the Recreation Grounds to plant a new hedge with the help of children from the nearby Whitehead Primary School and Brighter Whitehead volunteers. The Diamond Jubilee Wood at Bentra, Whitehead, also

provided opportunities to promote trees. The grand opening of this new 60 acre public space took place in June 2012. Much of the land has been planted as woodland though the site also includes meadows sown with wildflowers, old hedgerows, a small stream, pond and wet grasslands. As part of the programme of events organised in 2012 by Stephen Daye, Parks and Countryside Development Officer, the Biodiversity Officer organised woodland walks, tree planting events and bug hunts at Bentra.
Trees were a focus for a biodiversity event in Carrickfergus in December 2012, when children from the Model Primary School, members of the public and also Council staff and the Mayor helped to plant a new area of woodland by the Millponds at the Amphitheatre. In the same month yet another tree event was held at Greenisland, where every child in Silverstream Primary School was involved along with some teachers and parents. Together they created a new mixed native hedge along the boundary of the school grounds.

At Ballymena, in March 2013, the Mayor helped children from Ballymena Primary School to plant 250 young trees at the People’s Park. This is the first stage of a tree planting scheme for this park, which it is hoped will be expanded in the next planting season.

DSC09137A particularly memorable tree day was held with volunteers at Carnfunnock Country Park in December 2012, in memory of William Macartney, a man who had dedicated endless hours to planting trees in community events as part of a local International Tree Foundation group and, in the mid 1990s, as a volunteer Tree Warden with the Forest of Belfast Initiative. Although this was a sad occasion, many of the trees planted had been grown by William from seeds or cuttings and everyone enjoyed giving new life to these saplings. As the volunteers worked, many chatted about William’s life and his enthusiasm for caring for the environment. Afterwards, over tea and sandwiches, it was agreed that tree planting in memory of William Macartney’s life should if possible be repeated next year and perhaps become an annual celebration.