South West College’s (SWC) brand new Erne Campus which is scheduled to open its doors later this year welcomed a special delivery of 10 native trees recently which were planted as part of an all-Ireland initiative to help fight climate change.
The trees were gifted to the Campus by an All-Island Biodiversity coalition, Bugs, Bees and Native Trees and the planting ceremony, the first to take place in Northern Ireland was carried out to align with the College’s sustainability strategy which is guided by the One Planet Living principles. South West College is the first Further Education College to adopt the One Planet Living approach in the UK & Ireland.
Bugs Bees and Native Trees 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. The project specifically hopes to encourage young people across the island of Ireland to address issues of the environment, and biodiversity together and in a practical way through tree planting and other national environmental projects.
As part of the special tree planting event, 2 green beech, 2 hornbeam, 2 oak, 2 birch and 2 rowan trees were planted on-site. The project uses native trees because of their ability to thrive in the area, they are accustomed to the climate, the soil and the level of rainfall we receive each year. The trees planted will help sustain the lives of birds, bees, insects, support the food web and will assist us in managing the impact of our carbon footprint, waste and energy use.
Professor Ronan Mullan, a senior committee member of Bugs, Bee and Native Trees project team said:
“We are delighted to be here in Enniskillen and working in partnership with South West College. This is a historic day for our project as it is our first tree planting ceremony in Northern Ireland. Our mission is to improve biodiversity in Ireland, to do our part to improve the environment particularly where we work and study. We want people of all ages to be able to reconnect with the natural world and help manage climate change.
“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 www.bugsbeesandnativetrees.com and pledge to plant a small space for ten native trees in their gardens, at their places of work or at their schools. 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 12th - 14th November 2021.
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.”
The Erne Campus is aiming to become the world’s first and largest educational facility to achieve the Passive House Premium Standard and BREEAM Outstanding certifications and the building has been designed and constructed to minimise its impact on the natural environment.
Applications are now open for courses starting September. For more information or to apply please visit www.swc.ac.uk. Further information about the tree planting programme can be found online now at www.bugsbeesandnativetrees.com