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Wednesday, 12th May 2021

Drogheda students improving the local environment by planting trees

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Cian Smyth and Kobi Sheehy from 5th Class at St. Joseph’s CBS who took part in the Drogheda Grows tree planting scheme.

With just 11% of its land covered with trees, Ireland has the lowest tree cover of all European countries but students at several local schools are doing their bit to improve the situation by planting trees in and around their schools.

Trees provide many benefits including providing oxygen, recycling water, regulating humidity and controlling air pollution. Researchers believe that a single tree living for fifty years contributes benefits worth about €250,000 to the community during its lifetime.

Organising the tree planting was Drogheda Grows, a local project initiated in 2018 by the Local Education Committee which aims to instill awareness, season by season, of all the wonderful herbs, vegetables, fruits and trees which can be easily grown in the community and schools.

Taking part in the recent tree planting exercise were students from St. Joseph’s CBS, Presentation Primary School, St. Brigid’s & St. Patrick’s NS, St. John’s NS, St. Paul’s NS and St. Oliver’s Secondary School who learned about the role that trees and reforestation play in creating a healthier, more stable climate and inspiring them to take positive action against deforestation and environmental degradation.

Trees have been planted inside the grounds at St. Paul’s/St. John’s National School at Marley’s Lane and also at the green area at the corner of Patrick Street and Hardman’s Gardens which is close to St. Joseph’s CBS at nearby Sunday’s Gate.

The third location was the green area at Bothar Brugha in front of St. Brigid’s and St. Patrick’s National School. It is hoped that the local community will enjoy the new trees which greatly enhance these amenities.

The project used native trees due to their ability to thrive in the urban area as they are accustomed to the climate, soil and level of rainfall which we receive.

Lorraine White, the Principal at St. Brigid’s & St. Patrick’s NS, Máire Devine, former HSCL Coordinator with students Sarah Keegan and Tadhg McEnteggart with Paul Hussey, former principal of St. Joseph’s NS planting a tree which was vandalised two weeks later.

The trees planted will help to sustain the lives of birds, bees and insects. It will also assist in managing the impact of the schools carbon footprint, waste and energy use.

The project was initiated by the Drogheda Grow Committee with funding from Louth County Council under the Community Environment Action Fund. This programme seeks to promote sustainable development by supporting small scale environmental projects and it was one of a number of projects in the Drogheda area. Drogheda Tidy Towns were also delighted to be a partner and the project will form part of their application to the National Tidy Towns 2021 Competition.

Commenting on the tree planting the Chairperson of the Local Education Committee, Niamh Reddan, said the trees are a fantastic addition to the landscape of Drogheda that they hoped will be enjoyed by the local communities.

“The project highlights Drogheda schools’ awareness and commitment to climate change. The trees we planted are all native to Ireland and we encourage local residents to plant native trees in their own areas”.

Praising the schools involved Paul Hussey of Drogheda Tidy Towns saying: “the schools in Drogheda have a very proud tradition in the national Green Schools Programme.

“Drogheda Tidy Towns has a long history of partnering with our schools and their projects have helped Drogheda to achieve thirteen Gold Medals in the national Tidy Towns Competition.

“Once again our local pupils have taken the lead on this biodiversity project and they are helping to change habits, protect the planet and become leaders in their communities in Drogheda”.

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