Tree-planting for the future at Baronscourt Estate

BUGS Bees and Native Trees (BBNT) is a recently formed all-island climate action group set up to help improve biodiversity, our natural environment and mitigate against the human influenced effects of climate change.

On Friday and Saturday past, BBNT launched their Northern Ireland campaign through four plantings of 10 native trees with South West College of Further Education at their Erne campus Enniskillen, with the Duke of Abercorn at his estate in Baronscourt County Tyrone, with Lord Nicholas Hamiton at the Belle Isle Estate in Fermanagh and with the pupils, parents and headmaster Jarlath McElholm at Sacred Heart Primary School, Tattyreagh.

"BBNT aim to encourage people to reintroduce native trees into their communities primarily through our main action weekend on November 12-14," said a spokesperson.

"On this action day, the aim is to have upwards of 50,000 native and common trees planted across the island by primary schools, sports clubs, other organisations, and with households on their own grounds.

"Alongside the planting of native trees around the island of Ireland, they aim to emphasise the importance of native trees in our climate and the hope of further commitment to the resolution of the problem of their shortage. They aim to vastly increase the numbers of native trees seen in local communities and for this to drive the climatic benefits of having sufficient numbers of bugs and bees throughout our ecosystem."

Professor Ronan Mullan, himself a native of Tattyreagh, Omagh and a senior committee member of Bugs, Bee and Native Trees project team said: “We are delighted to be in Northern Ireland and working in collaboration with schools, colleges and members of the community in Northern Ireland.

"This is a historic time for our project as we initiate our first tree planting ceremonies here. Our mission is to improve biodiversity across the Island of Ireland, to do our part to improve the environment, particularly where we work live and play.

"We want people of all ages to be able to reconnect with the natural world and help manage climate change. We are delighted with the warm welcome we have received from our four collaborators this weekend and we very much look forward to broadening our partnerships throughout Northern Ireland in the coming months.

“This project is about investing in our youth and we are reaching out to people from all communities to register their names at our website and pledge to plant a small space for ten native trees in their gardens, at their places of work or at their schools or shared spaces.

"We aim to plant 50,000 native and common trees with you across the island this year and we are reaching out to you all to take part in our planting weekend of action on November 12-14.

"Please register your interest four our action weekend on and follow our updates on Instagram."

Michael McAlister, chief executive of South West College, joined the tree-planting ceremony and added: “I am pleased to support this wonderful initiative and honoured that South West College and specifically the Erne Campus has been chosen as the first planting site in Northern Ireland.

"The natural environment plays a vital role in the life of our college and these trees which have been planted here today will serve as an important reminder of the role and responsibilities that each of us hold in managing our carbon footprint and our impact on the natural world.

“I would encourage everyone in our college community to do their bit to support the Bugs, Bees and Native Trees initiative and get planting for our future.”

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