Dublin Plant-for-the-Planet Tree Academy, Malahide, Dublin

January 2019’s Academy sparks tree planting in Ireland from Enniskillen in the North to Harper’s Island in the South and from coastal Dublin to the Wild Atlantic Way in a Great Green Wave! We were hugely excited in Dublin as this was to be our first Irish-run Tree Academy; our very first Plant-for-the-Planet Academy in 2017 was in fact very kindly directed by Wendy Davis, UK Co-ordinator, who brought with her the British team; schoolgirls Erin and Hannah and parent chaperone and mentor Leonie. Orla Farrell travelled to find out how the million tree project was run in Great Britain a few months before in that great centre of excellence in tree-planting education, Harmony Woods in Andover, bringing with her a gift from the children of Ireland; a “Forest-in-a-carry-on-bag”. Orla felt right at home meeting the Mayor and planting the Irish hazels and hundreds of home-grown trees with the schoolchildren at the Jubilee Forest with the stalwart local volunteers. We were looking at starting off from scratch at Seagrange Park, Dublin, that Winter and what a boon it was to have help from our Next Door island.


Our 2018 Academy had unfortunately to be postponed due to a date clash with the launch of the Trillion Tree Project in Monaco which new Irish co-ordinator Orla was attending as part of the Youth Summit. There was jubilation when four of the Climate Ambassadors trained at the first Academy were selected to lead the newest event. We had gone ahead the year before and completed the woodland at the first site, expanding it eleven-fold to 3,305 trees with help from 10 local schools. And how did we achieve this with no Academy? This is where the “Easy treesie” project came in. Irish children have Saturdays designated for Sports and Music as well as other hobbies – weekdays are very suitable as planting days for us.  Pupils and teachers love to get out of the classroom for an hour, so even on wet days tree-planting was offered through this project in all the schools ringing the park, from ages 4 to 18.  Credibility was added to the project as our Minister for Education came out to plant with us!


In 2019 we needed a new site as the first Park was full. The Council – Fingal County Council – designated land for 2,500 trees in a neighbouring town, Malahide at Paddy’s Hill and the Malahide Castle Demesne and the Plant-for-the-Planet Tree Academy was to be the centrepiece of this endeavour. This town is one of the prettiest in the whole country and indeed has just won the Irish “Tidiest Town” competition – well deserved as its community spirit had to be seen to be believed. The Parish Pastoral Centre provided a world-class venue for our conference. Volunteers and well-wishers abounded, from the Malahide Tidy Towns group to the local fruit-and-vegetable suppliers who provided their produce; the local Vincent de Paul shop provided tree-themed chocolate biscuits and St. John Paul’s school sent their in-house photographer, Mary. The Afforestation Project, a student group, brought four volunteers and the local Sea Scouts came with a large team. The Sea Scouts has been in existence since 1919 and they planted 1919 trees as part of this project to mark their centenary! The Swords Woodland Association sent along several volunteers and Crann-Trees for Ireland was represented not only by Director Orla Farrell but by the great Australian Ecologist Dale Treadwell, who can take a bow for being one of the great inspirations behind tree planting for school children in Ireland going back a generation. Dale not only brought his van load of tools but his young son to operate them and lend a hand!


Local bus company, Malahide Coaches looked after our shuttle bus from the Pastoral Centre facilitating those who had travelled a distance to the Academy, including participants from  Balbriggan and Meath – over 30 km. The Pastoral Centre supplied excellent refreshments, supplemented by at-cost catering from local “It’s Amore” Italian restaurant (Number 1 on Trip Advisor!) which sent over delicious vegetarian pizzas for lunch. We had tree-themed fruit-for-the-forest and elderflower cordials, wonderful wooden bowls – works of art in themselves- of fruit and of course, chocolate. The Gourmet Food Parlour provided a huge surprise, hot chocolate with a home-made cookie “lid” on the top and very superior coffee for the adults! What a Tree-t!


Representatives also attended the Academy from the Autism Unit in Kilcoscan and from the Home-schooled community. After the Academy was over any school which had not participated in the planting joined in and came out on a weekday. Not only did all 6 Malahide schools participate but we had children from St. Finian’s, Swords who since planted a “Forest-in-a-box” in their school and gave a presentation in County Hall during Biodiversity Week. Siemens “Healthineers” came out in force to help out on a day with particularly wet weather; well done, team Siemens! This project has in fact only very recently finished, as on the week of the school holidays children from Portmarnock Community College came out to plant three beautiful semi-mature Silver Birch trees to bookend our wonderful extended hedgerow on the hill. We received lots of attention from the media, with film of the Academy and Felix’s million-tree-challenge appearing on our National Broadcaster, RTÉ TV’s popular “Today with Dáithi and Maura” and on radio “The Tubridy Show”, in our newspaper of record “The Irish Times”, in other national publications such as the “Examiner”, “Crann” magazine, “The Irish Catholic”. A variety of local newspapers and radio as well as lots of social media covered the Academy and its “Satellite” events.


After the success of this project, the “easy treesie – Crann” project took off in a roadshow around the country, planting 12,000 plus trees this season all over Ireland with children. WOW. Did you hear that? Added to the 3,005 last year and the 300 in 2017 that adds up to 15,051 trees. The only hard part is getting land designated, after that we are flying! We are so happy to be joining in this global endeavour, with Irish Climate Justice Ambassadors appearing regularly at our National events and in the media. 9 tree-planting events were held during Biodiversity Week, we have upcoming events on Heritage Week and Culture Night, coinciding with the Climate March in Dublin City on September 20th. Members of our organisation has met with members of parliament and even our national President as well as our Minister for Climate Change. We look forward to announcing our next Academy as soon as arrangements are made and to welcome new children to join with the Plant-for-the-Planet challenge on Europe’s western border where our tree planting now stretches all the way to Westport on the Wild Atlantic Way.



























Veteran Village Greenkeeper Fergus Hanley supervises the planting of the final pine in the stand planted with local children earlier in the week following the Greenore Residents’ AGM.


Orla Farrell of the easy treesie – Crann project prepares to make a presentation on the world Plant-for-the-Planet Project to Greenore Residents’ AGM.PRESS RELEASE


Friday, 5th July 2019





Visitors to Louth’s extraordinary village of Greenore since its foundation on a greenfield site in the 1860s never fail to be astounded. As the only planned port in the country which included in its foundation a school, police station, hotel, golf club, post office and Assembly rooms as well as rail link and beautiful stone accommodation for residents and visitors, its listed status is well deserved.


Greenore residents have always striven to preserve and enhance the village’s natural advantages. With its splendid shoreline on three sides commanding the definitive view of the “Mountains of Mourne Sweeping Down to the Sea”, the villagers have taken pride in their village and have endeavoured for over a century and a half to display it at its best as can be seen in scenes recorded on camera going back as far as the first commercial photographs. Regular visitors to Greenore will have noticed the increased emphasis on planting for biodiversity in the village. The Tidy Towns committee work is regularly photographed by visitors. Local school children have planted both a biodiversity and a herb garden, a unique bug hotel makes provision for insects in a prime location, grass is being managed for pollinators and planting has moved to flowers that will grow from year to year. This emphasis on looking after nature has seen Greenore do well in the Tidy Towns competition from year to year when they consistently pick up positive comments complementing their hard work.


Trees are often the first thing noticed by the visitor, either when viewing Greenore from afar or on its approach road, where magnificent Corsican Pines along with newer planting adorn its superb golf links course. There is a downside to sea views and sea breezes however; recent storms took their toll on many old favourite village trees, including the complete decimation of a stand of pines on the approach road to the village. Local resident Don Brassil has worked tirelessly over the years enhancing the treescape in the area. His long career in the tree industry means he has extensive knowledge of what grows – and won’t grow in the area. Don teamed up recently with Orla Farrell of Greenore Village in a project with Rampark national school where they helped the children add some native species, donated by Don and grown in his own nursery to the school. Orla is founder of the “Easy Treesie” project which is aiming to meet the UNIPEDE-backed “Plant-for-the-Planet” challenge to plant a million trees on the island of Ireland with Ireland’s million school children. The trees are planted on public lands such as parks, roadsides and hospitals and Orla is eager to hear of pockets of land suitable for children to plant over the coming years.


Greenore Residents were happy to find suitable space for a planting ceremony to coincide with their Annual General Meeting. On a recent sunny Sunday having enjoyed a presentation in the Assembly Rooms on the global trillion-tree project which is now up and running in 67 countries, those attending the meeting adjourned to the Promenade. The Greenore Port Company had most obligingly prepared the ground by machine and Brian Larkin, chairman of the Residents’ Association had taken delivery of the rootball stock earlier in the week. Members of the Junior Tidy Towns committee were there to assist. The project usually confines itself to planting saplings during the dormant season however they have the tree-t of occasional planting more mature trees during the growing season for ceremonies such as this. The trees were chosen for their suitability for the site which takes a beating from the salt winds which can be very strong. This variety – Austrian Pine – is already present at several locations in Greenore and seems to thrive particularly well there. The Project chiefly plants native trees however changes in climate have meant that provision is being made for the future by planting species suitable for extremes which may occur more frequently given current trends. “The Right Tree in the Right Place” is the motto of Crann – Trees for Ireland which is the charity backing this project. The trees are now showing signs of growth as they receive regular watering from the village committee as they settle in.  The three majestic pines provide shelter already for walkers on the shore and add to the attractive vista. Orla expressed her gratitude to the Irish Environmental Network who sponsored this recent event and is delighted that Louth is participating in a project which has planted 15,050 trees with children since 2017 with children from 9 counties stretching from Enniskillen to Listowel and from Sligo to Kilkenny.

The project team is grateful for the support of the Irish Environmental Network, who sponsored this event through their National Biodiversity Week programme.

You can find out more about this exciting project at http://www.easytreesie.com





Contact Orla Farrell at orla@easytreesie.com


Photographs available




Congratulations to Biodiversity Heroes at Tolka River Valley Park




For immediate release






This year is International Year of the Salmon and pupils on the fringes of the Finglas and Tolka rivers have been doing their bit to is to establish the conditions necessary to ensure the resilience of salmon and people in their locality.


It is not widely known that due to the extraordinary efforts of the Biodiversity, Parks and environment teams from Dublin City Council, ours is one of the few capital cities in the world where salmon and trout are swimming in a city river. Local angling clubs of course have also had a major part to play in the re-stocking and monitoring of these species. All this would not have happened without the visionary planning going back many years and in particular the truly astonishing turnaround in water and environmental quality that sees a former landfill site now a flourishing nature reserve and haven for local people and wildlife. Anne Marie Harris has been at the helm of this project for many years and visitors to the parks on the Tolka have noticed not only the first rate layout of these parks with their tree trails, fountain and new picnic benches but the regular sight of birds such as the kingfisher and dipper.


Local school children have been eager to play their part. Many indeed are ardent fisher folk as they explained recently when an RTE film crew came along to see their work planting trees for all at their local park. Three local schools have planted the astonishing 1,008 trees at this location, a mixture of native trees suitable for this riverbank park such as alder, birch and hazel. Trees were supplied by Coillte and by Dublin City Council and the tree planting took place commencing just before National Tree Week and finishing in time for World Environment Day in June. Mick Burke and his team were out in all weathers to assist the children and to explain the importance of the work to them. The park now benefits from increased protection from flooding during the ever-more-frequent heavy rainfall events through planting of an alder grove at the bend of the river next to the Business Park entrance. The planting along the riverbanks near the bridge of other suitable species will help mop up flooding and indeed also helps to clean both soil and water at the same time. During hot weather these mostly broadleaved species will provide welcome shade for fish to spawn and for bird nesting. The children were supported by many local and national politicians who came along to see the work at their new outdoor classroom, an oak-tree “henge”, including Noel Rock T.D.,  European and Local election candidates Alex White and Mary Callaghan. Dublin City Council had their teams out in force with some very impressive heavy machinery to do the “heavy lifting” for the children, some of whom were as young as eight years old. Lorraine Bull, Dublin’s new Biodiversity Officer came along to encourage children on the day when the local Autism Unit came to put the finishing touches to this year’s planting season and to carry out the planting of three mature hawthorn trees. The youngsters were interested to know of the magic tales attached to the Hawthorn. These trees are working their magic already, providing a haven for local wildlife and especially the bees, who love the pollen from these hedgerow favourites. The children were excited to hear that some of the trees which were planted on the riverbank, on the public golf course and overlooking the road can live to over 1,000 years. Easy treesie founder Orla Farrell who pulled the project together as part of the UNIPEDE-backed Plant-for-the-Planet challenge commended the local children and teachers as well as the many volunteers which included family members of the children for their superb environmental impact. She asked that the children would think to bring some water to hydrate the new baby trees should we have any spells of extreme heat or dry weather in their first years – “grey” or collected rainwater being the best choice for watering! Orla thanked the Irish Environmental Network which sponsored the final phase of this season during Biodiversity Week, giving a chance for the children to take a bow for their stewardship of their local salmon and local area.





Editor’s note:


The “Easy Treesie” initiative is part of the UN sponsored “Plant-for-the-Planet” programme inspired by teacher and Nobel Laureate Wangari Mathai and aims to plant 1 trillion trees globally.


Children in over 100 countries have come together to tackle climate change through the symbolic and practical means of planting a tree in their locality.


Further information on the initiative may be found at www.easyTreesie.com .

Thanks, Avondhu, for publishing our Fermoy story and well done Bishop Murphy’s and Gaelscoil de hÍde!







Cork children can take a bow heading into National Biodiversity Week, they are setting an un-bee-lievable example as they round off their successful season of tree planting. This week they will add Fermoy’s 560 new trees to the U.N.-backed “Plant-for-the-Planet” trillion tree initiative with an avenue of ten Lime Trees on Fermoy’s Link Road.


The collapse of insect and wildlife has been in the news this week due to the report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services issued in Paris on May 6th.  “Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely”, warned this landmark publication. Children have shown their concern in weekly Friday protests following the call to action of Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg. Tidy Towns leader Ken Barry paid tribute to his tree-mendous team who have been supporting local school children in their desire to protect their planet and provide for nature solutions making provision for Biological Diversity.



The planting parties this week with Bishop Murphy and Gaelscoil de hÍde schoolchildren will be preceded by a presentation by Orla Farrell, Easy Treesie project founder on the importance of tree planting for capturing carbon dioxide, insulating against sounds of traffic and managing drought and flooding.  Cork County Council is supporting this workshop for the children so that they will understand the importance of nurturing our young trees and cherishing the mature ones.  President Michael D. Higgins is patron of the charity Crann – Trees for Ireland which supports this children’s global environmental initiative.


“What a great pleasure to be back in Cork planting an avenue of lovely limes on the approach road to Gaelscoil de hÍde.”, said Orla, a member of the “Crann – Trees for Ireland” board.  This variety was specially selected by the Fermoy Beekeepers who sponsored the first two in the series, planted for National Tree Week as the school children worked away on 550 trees on Corrin Hill with the Fermoy Tidy Towns volunteers. The “Earth Day” 4 limes were planted on Easter Monday- sponsored by Peadar Collins of the Irish Tree Center in local Kildorrery (who incidentally has already planted 1,000 trees in the town of Fermoy!) Peadar is also proud to be a director of Crann – Trees for Ireland. “The easy treesie – Crann project is delighted to be sponsoring the final lime trees on the Avenue. We are also preparing for World Environment Day in June which highlights the importance of tackling air pollution; what better way than by trapping traffic fuel emissions with deciduous leaves, a tested solution to clean the air and make Fermoy even more beautiful!”, said Orla. The location of the Avenue is on the Link Road (opposite Texaco) on the Cork road at the south side of Fermoy. “Cork children have been an inspiration”, says Orla “After our amazing time with Scoil Clochar Mhuire Carrigtwohill who invited RTE’s Today Show to join our Harper’s Island Wetland Centre project we have managed to reach 15,024 trees planted by children! We will be matching the trees on this avenue through our joint SymmeTREE initiative with an equivalent amount of trees through Bill Liao of Cork’s superb WeForest.org


The native trees on Corrin Hill are being supplemented in Fermoy by the lime trees which are known for their grandeur and beauty as well as their ability to be able to live to the ripe old age of 1,000 years and beyond. This species has nativized in Ireland over the centuries. This season’s varieties have been selected to make provision for Fermoy’s future climate and to ensure resilience as several of our native species such as the Ash and Elm have had to be struck from the planting list due to disease.


Local schools work hard to maintain their International Green Flag status and this initiative will help towards retaining these awards as well as making progress towards continuing Fermoy’s Tidy Towns and IBAL success.  “It is a pleasure to work with children and their community to enhance this magnificent town”, said Orla who is a teacher and regular visitor to Fermoy with fond memories of childhood summers spent at her mother, Brid Kenneally’s home in Castlehyde. “We are delighted to be affording these children the chance to be stewards of their own local environment, as part of a countrywide wave of planting with children this week, from Cork to Carlingford Lough” she said.  The easy treesie- Crann project team extends an invitation to local volunteers including parents and grandparents of the school children who wish to join them on the day to assist.




Editor’s note:


The “Easy Treesie” initiative is part of the UN sponsored “Plant-for-the-Planet” programme inspired by teacher and Nobel Laureate Wangari Mathai and aims to plant 1 trillion trees globally.


Children in over 100 countries have come together to tackle climate change through the symbolic and practical means of planting a tree in their locality.


Further information on the initiative may be found at www.easyTreesie.com .


INQUIRIES:  orla@easytreesie.com






The children of Portmarnock, Malahide and surrounds have received their summer report from teacher, Orla Farrell who has been leading the UNIPEDE-backed tree-planting challenge from “Plant-for-the-Planet” all over the country this year. “Tree cheers for the children from every school in the area who joined us this year in our efforts to Re-Leaf Ireland” says Orla, director of Crann – Trees for Ireland and founder of this challenge to plant one million trees with Ireland’s one million children by “twenty twenty-tree. These children deserve a lovely rest now it’s high summer, it’s time to enjoy the great work they carried out with us in the colder months and enjoy watching our new woodlands grow! The trees have been growing even faster than the children this year thanks to lots of Spring rain and warm temperatures. Stories of extreme heat on the continent make us glad to have our temperate climate. Our new trees will help us cope with the flooding we have seen in recent weeks and of course these trees, mostly broadleaves are brilliant at being natural air-purifiers, taking fumes from traffic and industry out of the air and locking the pollution – as well as Carbon – into the soil and away from young lungs.”


A million; can it be done? Isn’t that a little much to ask of our school children and don’t they have enough to do on their curriculum? “The RDS lead an initiative over a hundred years ago where they planted 55 million trees at five times our rate so this type of project has happened here before” says Orla who left her classroom teaching job last summer to volunteer to lead this tree-volution. “The children and teachers are delighted to come out. So much time is spent these days on phones and screens, it is a great break to leave the classroom for an hour and they get such a sense of achievement to see a tree planted in their local park by themselves and their classmates”, Orla continues. “Our project ties in with our hugely popular national Green Schools Programme as well as lots of our curriculum areas. Plus, we always like to include a tree-t on our Tree Parties. Local businesses have been more than generous in their support, with the Gourmet Food Parlour, Avoca, That’s Amore and Fingal County Council providing snacks for the children. Malahide Garden Centre provided compost, promotion was given by the local libraries and food outlets and Malahide Coaches provided a shuttle service from local schools to Paddy’s Hill over the winter months.


Fingal is in fact the county where this project all began in Ireland in 2017, with Ireland’s first “Tree Academy”. Since the second one was held at Malahide Community Centre last January, we now have 100 children trained as “Plant-for-the-Planet Climate Ambassadors”.


The trees we picked to finalise the extended hedgerow at Robswall’s Park were chosen for their suitability to this site in consultation with council expert, Colin Gilhooley who leaves the Malahide Operations Department for Newbridge House this season. “Colin and his team were such a support to us, coming out in all weathers to prepare the land, help with the tools and encourage the children. They even had our new trees staked and fenced in jig time, wind is always a factor on the hill and even in summer it can be problematic as trees establish. He knows we are not letting him go, however”, continues Orla “as we have already planted 440 trees at Newbridge House Demesne as part of our project with Lusk National School. We will just give him a chance to settle in and then we will be on our quest to have more public land designated for children’s planting”.


“Fridays for Future” is a movement that has caught the imagination of youth all over the world, with a big School Strike planned on for September 20th next. The recent planting on Paddy’s Hill took place on a Friday and the children’s protest for climate action consisted of their own symbolic and practical act, beautifying their own area with trees. Greta Thunberg made a statement this week saying that all those doing just one thing for Climate Action were pioneers because so few were taking action. Silver Birch are known as “Pioneer Trees” as they were among the first to thrive in the Irish landscape after the last Ice Age. It is appropriate that they should be the ones planted to complete this project. This addition to the hedgerow also ties in with national policy to increase the nature corridors that are our traditional Irish land boundaries by adding appropriate planting.

More pictures of the event can be found on the school website, https://www.portmarnockcommunityschool.ie/. The project team is grateful for the support of the Irish Environmental Network, who sponsored this event through their National Biodiversity Week programme. The trees in this instance were supplied by the local Tully’s nurseries, Lusk.


The children took part in a special mindfulness exercise on the day of their last visit before the holidays. A practice in newly-established woodlands in years gone by before sprays were used commonly was to walk through the new growth, trampling the weeds. The Mindful element came when the children were shown the 6 different species newly planted at this site by hundreds of primary-age children and warned not to trample on the new trees which are hard to spot in the long meadow grass, in particular the holly which is a slow-growing species. The children were in fact asked not even to talk to one another as they did this useful exercise, for fear of trampling on a new tree inadvertently, all of which are still less than a metre high. The “Managed for Biodiversity” week was put up at this spot just as the best area was being chosen for the new grove of trees. Orla appealed to walkers to help out when out on a walk by trampling the long grass around the new planting. Should we have spells of dry weather, the new trees also can use a dose of “grey water” so if you for example find a half-filled water bottle that has been sitting around for a while, why not donate that old water to a local tree!


A special thanks to all of our volunteers and a big shout out to the Swords Woodland Association for all their support!

You can find out more about this exciting project at www.easytreesie.com





Contact Orla Farrell at orla@easytreesie.com