A town west Clare has received high praise from a Hollywood star after becoming the first in Ireland to adopt an Australian initiative to plant a tree for every primary school pupil in the town.
Co-founded by Australian environmentalists Olivia Newton-John and Jon Dee, the international ‘One Tree Per Child’ initiative aims to help children plant at least one tree as part of their primary school education.
By the end of yesterdays planting event in Kilrush, all 376 primary school pupils in the west Clare town had planted one tree each. Organisers are now calling on every Irish primary school and local community to follow their example.
Kilrush Tidy Towns Chairman Paul Edson said: “When we were attending the Entente Florale Medal Presentation Ceremony in Bristol, England in September, 2015 we came across the ‘One Tree per Child’ project that had recently commenced there.
Bristol City Council’s ambitious undertaking to plant a tree for every primary school child in the city, 35,000 trees in total, was inspiring. We were so impressed with the concept that we decided that we would like to be first town in Ireland to run this project,” he said.
After finally agreeing a location with Clare County Council, who donated land at their recently acquired large sports facility in the town, Kilrush Tidy Towns committee agreed to purchase and supply the trees out of their own funds.
“Given the sometime harsh weather conditions that prevail on the Atlantic seaboard locally grown, native Irish trees with a range of biodiversity value were chosen. These consisted of a selection of Birch, Oak, Hazel, Common Alder, Rowan and Whitethorn,” Mr Edson added.
The two local Primary Schools, who are both closely linked with Kilrush Tidy Towns, were delighted to be become involved.
Altogether there are currently 376 primary school children combined in St. Senan’s National School and Gaelsoil Ui Choimin and now each pupil have their own dedicated tree which they can hopefully one day show to their grand-children.
Every National Tree Week new pupils at the schools will get the opportunity to plant a tree, alongside those that started the ‘One Tree per Child’ project in 2017.
Paul Edson added: “We made contact with the ‘One Tree Per Child’ organisation in Australia and there were delighted to endorse us as the first Irish town to participate in the initiative and they hope that this will project will now spread right across Ireland.”
‘One Tree Per Child’ Co-Founder, actress, singer and entrepreneur Olivia Newton-John said: “I believe that society benefits when young children get out, get their hands in the earth, and plant trees. Planting trees and shrubs is a great way for children in Kilrush and County Clare to connect to the environment and their community. All Irish children should do the same.”
“Having a One Tree Per Child policy in Ireland’s primary schools and councils has a number of benefits. As a child grows so does the tree that they planted. Every child should do it,” Ms Newton-John added.