Cherrymount was a hive of activity on Saturday last as volunteers, both young and young at heart, planted 1,500 native Irish trees to create Cherrymount Community NeighbourWoods.
Following on from the successful planting of a similar number of trees at Carriganore in 2021, Waterford Comhairle na nÓg, Waterford and South Tipperary Community Youth Service’s Be Environmental! Erasmus+ Project and the Forestry Department at Waterford Institute of Technology, were joined this year by Waterford City and County Council and Waterford Lions Club in converting one acre of the green area adjacent to John’s River in Waterford City into what will become an urban woodland.
Deputy Mayor of the Metropolitan District, Cllr. Jason Murphy lent his support to the tree planting campaign and commended the groups for creating an urban woodland, of which the benefits will be enjoyed by future generations.
The tree planting programme not only aims to enhance the natural landscape with native tree species, but will also have a positive impact on the environment and biodiversity, by encouraging a healthy ecosystem through the re-introduction of a wide range of plants in a relatively urban setting.
According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, “Native woodlands are an important part of Ireland’s natural, historical and cultural heritage, and are unique in terms of their biodiversity.”
With that in mind, a wide range of native Irish tree species, including alder, downy birch, hawthorn, hazel and rowan trees was planted on the Cherrymount site.
Cllr. Murphy said, “There is no doubt that planting trees in urban areas contributes to so many positives to any community. From improving air quality, to getting the community together to create a wonderful legacy and giving the younger residents of the estate the unbridled joy of exploring in a woodland area on their very own doorstep.”
“It also heartening to see so much support from local businesses and the wider community, who have supported this great initiative with their time, energy, resources and funding. I’d like to thank TEVA for their continuous support and Coillte for providing these beautiful native trees.”
Ms. Penny Nordell, President of Waterford Lions Club said this NeighbourWoods scheme is very much in keeping with the Lions Club “Waterford Trees for Life” project which this year has seen over 70 standard trees planted in more than a dozen locations throughout the City particularly in school grounds.
The community project has also been developed to promote positive physical and mental health and give younger people the opportunity to affect real positive change and connect with their peers in a meaningful way after the pandemic.
Also, as part of an innovative lockdown project, Waterford Comhairle na nOg developed an app ‘CommuniTree’, which helps young people to stay connected and to complete environmental challenges to help their digital tree grow. The more trees that were grown digitally resulted in more trees being planted for NeighbourWoods.
Etse Oshiogwemoh, Chairperson of Comhairle for 2022 said, “In Comhairle we feel a native tree trail is important for a number of reasons. It helps to embrace and encourage the natural ecosystem and promotes a sustainable future for our community, from which we all benefit.”
The CommuniTree app is available on Google Playstore and Apple App Store.
Images: Waterford in Your Pocket