Pictures: Cork pupils help plant small woodland on school grounds 

Four schools in Cork are taking part in the programme. 
Pictures: Cork pupils help plant small woodland on school grounds 

Dave Brooks, LEAF, pictured with pupils Alannah Mulvhill and Charlize Bergounioux with a shovelful of compost and hedge cuttings as part of An Choill Bheag educational programme. in Rockboro Primary School. Picture: Howard Crowdy

ROCKBORO National School in Ballintemple is one of four Cork schools chosen to have a small woodland planted on their land.

The school is taking part in ‘An Choill Bheag’, a long-term educational programme, an initiative of LEAF Ireland and the Environmental Education Unit (EEU) of An Taisce.

The An Choill Bheag initiative aims to increase students’ awareness of the many benefits of woodlands and provides a broad understanding of how woodlands play a significant role in our lives and future.

Students also learn the necessary skills to maintain, monitor and study these ecosystems.

The other schools selected for the programme were Midleton College, Scoil Réalt na Mara, Ballycotton, and St. John the Baptist, Midleton.

Pupils from 4th and 5th class in Rockboro Primary School who took part in An Choill Bheag, a long term educational programme, an initiative of LEAF and the Education Unit (EEU ) of An Taisce recently. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Pupils from 4th and 5th class in Rockboro Primary School who took part in An Choill Bheag, a long term educational programme, an initiative of LEAF and the Education Unit (EEU ) of An Taisce recently. Picture: Howard Crowdy

All four schools selected for the programme are also working on the Green-Schools programme.

The aim is to create small, dense native woodland habitats for biodiversity and an educational and recreational resource for the whole school community to enjoy.

The little woodlands also provide schools with an outdoor living classroom, a place where staff and students can connect with biodiversity

Karla Wendroff and Scarlett Collins pictured amongst the daffodils in Rockboro Primary School. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Karla Wendroff and Scarlett Collins pictured amongst the daffodils in Rockboro Primary School. Picture: Howard Crowdy

All four projects are being funded by Cully & Sully and delivered by the staff of the Environmental Education Unit (EEU) of An Taisce.

Dave Brooks from LEAF helped the fourth and fifth-class students plant the trees at the Ballintemple school.

“This is one of four schools in Cork that are sponsored by Cully and Sully so it’s a corporate social responsibility model for organisations to help out and donate a small woodland to a school and giving them funding to plant native trees in schools.”

Ajinkya Shinde seen distributing compost and hedge cuttings onto the plants during the An Choill Bheag educational programme. in Rockboro Primary School. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Ajinkya Shinde seen distributing compost and hedge cuttings onto the plants during the An Choill Bheag educational programme. in Rockboro Primary School. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Mr Brooks explained the process.

“We go around to schools, we go in on four occasions, we go in to survey the site, then we go with the kids and do a soil test, see what trees would be suitable for it.”

At Rockboro, Dave said Willow trees and Alder trees were not an option.

“It’s quite sandy soil here, no willow or alder.

“Here we have holly, cherry, elder, rowan, yew and some hazel. They are all native trees which helps with the biodiversity as well.”

Twins Scarlet and Saoirse Collins seen working in the school garden at Rockboro Primary School. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Twins Scarlet and Saoirse Collins seen working in the school garden at Rockboro Primary School. Picture: Howard Crowdy

The Ballintemple school planted almost 50 trees at their premises.

”Ideally we would plant up to 200 trees, but there are about 40 – 50 trees planted here.”

Dave said working with the pupils is an added bonus to his work.

“It was amazing fun working with the kids, it’s such a privilege, I am always learning from them, it’s a really collaborative process.”

Karla Wondroff, 9, who is in fourth class said: “I’m delighted to be involved in this programme. I think it’s important to plant trees because we need trees to breathe and a lot of them are being chopped down so it’s really important for trees to be grown.”

Pupils from 4th and 5th classes picturerd gathering up compost and hedge clippings for plants and trees at Rockboro NS as part of the LEAF project. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Pupils from 4th and 5th classes picturerd gathering up compost and hedge clippings for plants and trees at Rockboro NS as part of the LEAF project. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Scarlet Collins, 11, is in fifth class. Scarlet said she learned a lot by taking part in the programme.

“I think it’s a very cool project. Ms Riordan taught us all about the trees and we had other people come in and explain all about the trees as well.”

Saoirse Collins, 11, also in fifth class, said she enjoyed taking part in the programme and learned interesting facts.

“One of the best things I learned was that some soil is better than others and some soil can grow trees easier than others, I never knew that before.”

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