Schools helping schools; thank you to the High School, and Oliver Plunkett Schools, Dublin.

The High School, Dublin are celebrating a very special anniversary this year; their school is 150 years in existence. We are honoured that they chose our project to carry out their dream of planting 150 trees to mark this occasion. They did not have space in their own grounds, it being quite confined and how happy we were that this tied in so neatly with our planting party taking place with our fourth school ringing Tolka River Valley Park who have joined us on planting parties, St. Oliver Plunkett Junior School.

Thank you High School and your school community most sincerely for your most generous donation to our project, Easy Treesie – with charity Crann, Trees for Ireland, which plants trees with school children as part of a global UNESCO-backed initiative, Plant-for-the-Planet. Our project is Volunteer-lead and such donations help to fund such school workshops from Listowel to Baldoyle and Malahide to Roscahill.

150 saplings were planted at Tolka River Valley Park in the name of the High School, approx. 400m from the Tolka River Valley Public golf course and adjacent to the Council depot on the banks of the river on Tuesday, March 3rd. The school which carried out the planting was St. Oliver Plunkett’s School, St. Helena’s Drive, Finglas. We had a planting party and workshop for their 50 Second class children which comprised 2 classes. We were overseen by Head Gardener, Mick Burke and his team from Dublin City Council. We had assistance from volunteers from the Swords Woodland Association, Cllr. Joe Newman, a team of students from the DCU Enactus group and local members of community as well as four members of staff attached to the school. Since the event took place during Seachtain na Gaeilge, part of the workshop took place in Irish, the establishment of a “Slí na gcrann” or tree-trail along the river bank. The saplings were supplied by Dublin City Council and consisted of Silver birch, common birch, hawthorn, oak and rowan, all native varieties. The trees were planted in a stand of 250 saplings interspersed with mature trees and adjoining earlier planting carried out by St. Malachy’s School, Finglas with the Lord Mayor of Dublin during National Science Week, an event which was broadcast live by TV3 AM.

Another unusual feature of our planting party on Tuesday is that we carried out a new technique for our planting events organised by our Environmental Intern, Mr. Asfand Bakht Yar, civil engineer and student in TU Dublin in their Sustainability Masters’ Degree. The volunteers had all the holes prepared in advance and in this way, no tools were required by the children. They held their saplings aloft and on the whistle signal 50 saplings were planted all at once in one minute. Then the exercise was repeated. The volunteers completed the planting then as the children had to go to their lunch after their 2-minutes of work. This exercise in efficiency, copied from the Pakistan government’s Billion Tree tsunami project which our intern worked on, gave us time to visit the river and observe the bird life which included a majestic Crane and to enjoy the sunshine while hearing all about the properties of the trees we planted. A.B. calls it a “Tree Minute”. Thank you A.B., we are flying now!

The co-ordinates of the planting I see from a search are; 53.376786 – 6.300950, Finglas, Dublin. Free street Parking is available in Dublin Industrial Estate or on Tolka River Valley Park to visit the park. The park is a former landfill site which now hosts wild brown trout, kingfisher and a male otter which was filmed by the council staff a few weeks ago, an extraordinary haven of biodiversity connecting with Cardiffsbridge Park and upstream of the Botanic Gardens.

Donors contributing to our project are issued with a receipt from our charity, Crann – Trees for Ireland by Marguerite, our administrator. We will be making out a formal certificate for the school acknowledging their initiative. We have invited the High School to start considering a suitable site for an oak-tree planting at a time to suit which we will carry out when the bare-root season is over after Easter. Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.

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