Local schools taking part in tree-planting

Picture: Michael Cooper
Picture: Michael Cooper

The Woodland Trust is sending out trees to schools across Londonderry as part of a UK-wide scheme to encourage local planting.

It’s the charity’s biggest-ever distribution of free trees and a sign of the public’s growing desire to plant.

The saplings – 561,000 to be precise – are equivalent to approximately 350 hectares. And over 24,000 are set to brighten the Northern Ireland landscape.

People right across the country – from heritage groups to hurling clubs, and prep schools to colleges – are preparing to enhance their local grounds this November.

Collective efforts are helping to green local landscapes and tackle Northern Ireland’s lack of woodland cover. The country has a mere 8% woodland cover, compared to the European average of 46%.

And it’s not too late for would-be tree planters to make their mark: schools, youth groups and community groups are now invited to apply for free trees for planting next March.

The packs come in three sizes, ranging from 30 native saplings for a small copse or short hedgerow to 420 trees, enough to cover an acre of land. Choose from species that will attract wildlife, give year-round colour or provide a bountiful wild harvest.

The Woodland Trust’s Director of Woodland Outreach, John Tucker, said: “The popularity of our free tree pack scheme is testament to how much the public love trees. We’ve never given out so many in such a short space of time.

“Schools and community groups obviously hold trees in great affection, valuing them for the many benefits they bring. People tell us they’re planting to encourage wildlife, to combat climate change, prevent flooding and improve health and wellbeing.

“Trees and woods are under threat like never before, from pests, disease and development.

We need more trees, and we’re thrilled our scheme is going from strength to strength.”

The trees are funded by Sainsbury’s, IKEA FAMILY and Yorkshire Tea.

To find out more and to apply for your spring pack visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/freetrees