National Tree Week ~ 6 – 13 March 2016 ~ ‘We Love Trees’

National Tree Week launched today with a survey of parents that reveals almost a third of children in Ireland (31%) have never climbed a tree and 1 in 10 have never even visited a forest or wooded area. The findings of the survey also reveal that parents claim nearly half (48%) of Irish children spend more time in front of a screen than outdoors. Highlighted in the results was a generational divide, with 74% of parents saying they used to climb trees “often” or “all the time” when they were children, yet they say only 5% of Irish kids climb trees “all the time” today.

Mental Health and Wellbeing:

At a time when mindfulness and meditation are increasing priorities for families across Ireland due to work-life imbalances, stress and financial pressure, trees are proven to have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. The research backed this up with 82% of the respondents commenting that walking through a forest had a calming effect on them.

National Tree Week – 6th – 13th March

Tree Week runs from March 6th – 13th and aims to reignite the nation’s love of trees through hundreds of events all over Ireland. People are encouraged to visit www.welovetrees.ie to find out about local events happening in their area and to find ways to get outside to learn, grow and enjoy trees.  The event will be launched  in the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin at 2pm on Sunday March 6th, 2016. With a wide range of events from tree planting to poetry readings there is something for everyone during Tree Week 2016.  National Tree Week is an annual week long fun festival about trees organised by The Tree Council of Ireland.  In celebration of National Tree Week individuals, families, schools and local communities are encouraged to participate in and support events taking place around the country during the week. Coillte will also supply 15,000 saplings throughout the week long event.

Kilbora Woods, Ferns, Co. Wexford.

Kilbora Woods, Ferns, Co. Wexford.

By doing something as simple as planting a tree, everyone can play their part in making a difference to our efforts to live more sustainably, bringing about huge  benefits, many of which will have long term impact in times of climate uncertainty.

Despite great advances in the past 100 years, Ireland remains one of the least wooded countries in Europe with only 11% of our land planted with trees compared to the European average of 40%.  Ireland has agreed a target to increase our forest cover to 17% by 2035.  This initiative will provide new jobs, build our forestry industry and help improve our environment.

On a global level, trees play a significant role in mitigating against climate change by soaking up carbon emissions and in the sustainable wood resource they provide.  Trees also improve air quality, providing us with clean air to breathe, and reduce the effects of flash flooding and soil erosion.  They give shade to make streets and buildings cooler in summer and improve the energy efficiency of buildings by providing shelter and reducing heat loss.  Without trees, life on earth would be intolerable.

Riverdale Water Mill on the shores of Lough Neagh

Riverdale Water Mill on the shores of Lough Neagh

Get involved!

It’s easy to get involved as an individual or as a group.  The Tree Council of Ireland invites you to organise one or more events for the week to celebrate trees. As well as tree planting ceremonies especially those that involve the planting of native Irish trees to help compensate for loss of natural habitat and in turn benefit our birds, bees, pollinators and all wildlife the range of events can include forest and woodland walks, nature trails, workshops, woodturning displays, talks, tree hugging, tree climbing etc. –  the choice is yours!

Rowan trees planted along the approach road by Ferns Tidy Towns

Rowan trees planted along the approach road by Ferns Tidy Towns

What can you do to celebrate National Tree Week?

  • Check out the National Tree Week events programme and take part in an event near you.
  • Celebrate National Tree Week in your school by planting a tree or in the classroom by drawing pictures or making leaf prints or bark rubbings of trees, read or write poems or stories about trees, learn how to measure the height and spread of a tree, produce a class drama about trees.
  • Encourage your local residents association, tidy towns group, youth club, sports club or other local organisation to get their members involved in a tree planting or tree maintenance project (eg. clean-up a local woodland) in your area.
  • Volunteer in a local community tree-planting event. You’ll meet new people and make a difference in your community.
  • Organise a walk or trail to showcase and tell the stores of any large, unusual or historic trees in your community.
  • Commemorate an event of significance in your community by planting a tree and organise a community celebration or get together to mark the occasion.
  • Celebrate the week in a personal way by planting a tree yourself in your own garden.
  • Take some time to read a book about trees or find our more about their characteristics, their uses, folklore etc. Learn to identify trees in your neighbourhood.
  • Enjoy the outdoors. Visit a local forest or park or take a nature walk and enjoy observing and being in the company of trees.
  • Those in the business community could sponsor a community tree project.
Enjoy walking and exploring in the beautiful woodlands

Enjoy walking and exploring in the beautiful woodlands

Even the smallest garden can accommodate a tree!

Just because your garden is small, don’t think that you can’t have trees. One of the advantages of planting trees is that there is a species to fit every location, regardless of size. Many people with small gardens only have space for one tree so choosing the right one is important. When planting in small enclosed spaces, it is advisable to plant trees that have a small crown spread. Eventual height is an important factor too. Even small ornamental trees may, over time, reach a height of 6-7m or more. If you only have room for one tree ideally look for one with more than one feature or season of interest such as coloured bark or fruit or autumn colour following on from flowers.

National Tree Week 2016

Some Native Tree Species to consider for Small Gardens.

Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) – Slow growing evergreen with shredding brown bark and dark green, leathery leaves. Clusters of pinkish white, pitcher-shaped flowers and red strawberry-like fruits are borne together in late autumn and winter. Height 5m.

Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) – Although inconspicuous for much of the year, this small tree is very showy in autumn and early winter when the leaves turn blazing scarlet and masses of rose-red capsules split open to reveal orange seeds. Height 4m.

Silver Birch (Betula pendula) – Distinctive silvery-white, peeling bark that becomes marked with black, rugged cracks as it gets older. In spring, yellow-brown male catkins appear and in late autumn the diamond-shaped, bright green foliage turns yellow before falling. Height 12m. Betula pendula ‘Youngii’ is a weeping form that develops a mushroom-headed habit with branches reaching to the ground.

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) – Choose the fastigiate form. Leaves turn deep, fiery red and yellow in autumn. Sprays of white flowers cover the tree in late spring, followed by bunches of red berries in autumn. Height 8m.

Yew (Taxas baccata) – Choose the columnar or fastigiate form. Slow growing coniferous tree forming a dense, compact column. Height 3m.

Recycling saves trees!

School Recycling Saves TreesTrees are essential to our world and offer a wide range of benefits to our environment so for the week that’s in it we should also remember that recycling saves trees! Each ton of recycled paper    can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution.

What are your plans to celebrate National tree Week 2016?

Climate change – What can we do?

For months now we have been hearing and reading about Climate Change and how it is affecting the world we live in. The seriousness of the affects of Climate Change became very apparent when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report  was issued.  The UN’s panel of science experts  told us that they are more certain than ever before that humans are causing the climate to change, and that climate change will impact on everything from ecosystems and species to hunger, poverty, development, and global conflict.

Credit: The Raw Story

Credit: The Raw Story

Carbon emissions have soared in the last decade and are now growing at almost double the previous rate. If we want to stabilise emissions and address climate change we need strong action now. We need to address our reliance on imported fossil fuels along with measures that cut energy waste. Renewable energy alternatives such as wind, hydropower and solar were viewed most favourably by the report. Over the years these renewable energy technologies have reduced in price which have made them more affordable.  We need policy makers to start taking action but we also need to start making simple changes.

“The report is clear: the more you wait, the more it will cost [and] the more difficult it will become,” said EU commissioner Connie Hedegaard. 

The infographic below summarises the findings of the IPCC report and suggests how we can play our part in reducing carbon emissions and reducing the affects of Climate Change. Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing our living standards. Now, it’s time to embrace the climate solutions!

Credit: Climasphere and the United Nations Foundation

Credit: Climasphere and the United Nations Foundation

Global warming and climate change is a real issue and we must start changing our mindset and behaviour and become more aware of the environment we live in and how we can make a difference. What change will you make today?

Ireland under a blanket of snow

Satellite image of Ireland under a blanket of snow

Ireland and UK 2010

Satellite image of Ireland and Uk snow coverage

The University of Dundee’s satellite station captured this image of how the heavy snow affected Ireland and the Uk. The picture, which was received at 11.45 p.m. on Thursday from Nasa satellite Terra, shows the extent of the snow and ice in South East Ireland and all along the East coast.

Climate Change Conference

Eco Evolution were invited to the climate change conference by the Wexford County Development Board.

The speakers on the day were from the EPA, Wexford County Council, NUI Maynooth, Teagasc and Courtown Waterworld.

Wexford County Development Board, (CDB), wanted to highlight and discuss the implications of climate change. The CDB launched its strategy “Action for change 2009-2012” last year. Action 7 calls for a  local multi-agency response to climate change. The aim of the conference was to raise local awareness and consider how Wexford can adapt to the likely impacts.

In time, the impacts of climate change will be more apparent in Wexford. There continues to be debate but predicted effects include:

  • More intense storm and rainfall events
  • Water shortages in the Summer and the need to irrigate crops
  • Effects on fish species that are sensitive to small temperature changes
  • Accelerated coastal errosion

The purpose of this conference was to localise the issue, to highlight the effects of climate change for our economy and public services and our citizens and their environment. The conference illustrated the impact of climate change at County level and also the possible adjustments that may be needed to manage longer term change.

For full details of the Conference speakers presentations follow the link below:

http://www.wexfordcdb.ie/cdb/ClimateChangeConference/#d.en.14835