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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Trees 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?