We sent the following submission to the Dublin Draft Tree Strategy 2016 - 2020
Firstly I wish to congratulate all the team on Dublin City Council for their extraordinary work in greening the city. Stephen's Green is idyllic, the new landscaping with drifts of woodland flowers is so striking, Merrion Square has its meticulous restoration of original design, Fairview Park is always wonderful and especially now with its glorious Spring flowers and in St. Anne's where I walked
evening with my club and where I will be attending a tour of its allotments during the week we stopped to photograph the stunning lemon daffodils. I spoke to some of your workers busy mulching there earlier today about a school trip to the playground recently; we had brought litter-pickers and gloves as we always do on trips out - we were on our way home from the RDS - and we found it really difficult to find a scrap of litter! That park is a paradise, it is on my bicycle commute; the children love the carved tree-trunk wishing chairs, the standing deadwood and the wooden playground. The Saturday market is a joy among the trees. It is like a "Where's Wally" picture of happy people having a good time training dogs, eating snacks on the picnic wooden tables and enjoying the fresh air. Take a bow. We always stop at the wonderful wooden gym-machines. Well done to all involved.
I am involved in a project, link here, at my National School, linked to the UN-supported "Plant for the Planet" organisation and liaising with An Taisce. We have grown two " tiny forests", 100 square meters each (One Are; hence the name, WildAREness) , of native trees at our school and have done other planting with Fingal County Council in two local parks. We aim to enable schoolchildren in Dublin to plant a tree per school in the planting seasons 2016 - 2018, one per class in 2018 - 2019 and one per child in 2020. Furthermore we have sponsored an equivalent number of trees in the Global South. We are currently Dublin finalists in the Irish Aid competition, we
*re in the top twenty in SEAI's "One Good Idea" competition and are collaborating with several schools in the Dublin City Council area as well as country wide, including Northern Ireland to achieve these aims.
We would be very pleased to co-operate with the Council in tree-planting. We feel there would be many benefits for the council in being involved in this initiative. I am a former Dublin City Councillor and I am aware of the many difficulties experienced in local government first hand, chief among them being budgets which make delivering optimum services and facilities challenging. I grew up on the Rathmines Road and it always distressed me to see the quantity of vandalism around town to publicly-owned trees. Therefore I was very pleased when as a teacher, I was invited to join a council tree-planting initiative with some of my class years ago. We noticed as I know you are aware an increased respect by the children for trees after this exercise and we extended it in the year 2000 to a planting session of 200 trees and hedgerow which gave the school great benefits since it was planted; more quiet, shelter, better air quality, an increase in biodiversity most noticeably bird life. Last year we repeated this exercise to great community acclaim, winning best community garden for our school. We are now encouraging other schools to follow our lead. Many schools do not have the advantage we have of space, and will need to plant in pots, corners or even as has recently been promoted in France, roofs. But they would be delighted to receive an invitation to plant even one tree in their local park.
Objective 3: Plant more Trees to ensure a sustainable urban tree canopy
We have tried planting from seed in our school. It is a useful experiment but for a variety of reasons the survival rate of acorns etc. planted in the classroom to maturity is less than one per cent in our experience. We have however
had great success with whips/saplings/young trees that have been started off in a nursery and made available to the school. As with the council, the budget of schools is constrained in the extreme. Tree-planting in our school has happened often because an individual teacher purchases trees as a personal gift to the school. I remember a council scheme where the council offered trees to residents in the city to plant them in their gardens. The ESB offered its employees trees on a similar basis this year during National Tree Week and I know of many who took up the offer. The council would undoubtedly get a useful positive reaction from Dublin citizens where schoolchildren were afforded an opportunity to plant young trees. Schools very often have corners, verges and areas around car parks and playgrounds that would have space for trees. Without such an initiative children will wait a long time to plant a tree. Many city children are apartment dwellers or have very confined garden space but would feel a sense of ownership if given a chance to put a tree in the ground somewhere in their locality.
Today my class was bitterly disappointed to find one of the ESB saplings we planted in our local park has been broken. A second one was pulled up before Easter, but because of our vigilance we were able to save it. We think it advisable to supply schools with saplings of sufficient size to have a good chance of survival or else to provide wiring or staking to reinforce the young trees.
3.4 Encourage the planting of trees that, having regard to their amenity, contribute to the biodiversity of the City, make a contribution towards air quality and/or help in off-setting climate change.
Re; 3.7.21Where a council-owned Tree is associated with anti-social behaviour, a possible solution may be to invite children to plant more trees at this location and designate it a
, enclosing it if necessary and including signage explaining the rationale behind wild areas.
We would greatly welcome enhanced co-operation with regard to tree-planting in Council-controlled areas, e.g.
- 3.8 Where the council is replacing or carrying out new tree-planting they would seek to engage local schools where practicable, not only in parks but at other locations. Taking part or observation of such activity would be a valuable learning opportunity for youngsters. Observation of Preparation of pits for tree planting for example, with an invitation to bring along some compost from the school compost-bin to assist in growth, teaches children about the requirements of living things.
n our local park, St. Anne's, the Aspen, Mountain Ash and Hawthorn have been missing for some time due to vandalism, a fifth of the total number of trees on this excellent trail. Having children from the local school re-plant these trees would lessen the likelihood of their being re-vandalised.
- Consideration to be given to planting a group of Native trees where practicable instead of 1 at each point on the park trails, both for reasons of encouraging biodiversity and for aesthetic reasons.
Re; 3.9.3 "Education and awareness The Council, through education, will aim to raise the awareness and appreciation of trees.
The Council will support tree-related educational initiatives in communities, schools and third level institutions. The Council will organise tree related events during National Tree Week in Spring, and on Tree Day in the Autumn."
The council will consider developing the current Parks Tree Trail by;
facilitating the production of an audio and/or video guide to our Native Trees with engagement from local school children
, to be
available on the Council website/ soundcloud or similar to facilitate public engagement with this amenity
. I can personally deliver this idea.
An increase in tree planting is actively sought in areas of the City where trees would add to the amenity. The draft document describes where in densely developed areas trees can be used to create areas for relaxation by using suitable street corner sites to locate individual trees with seating underneath. We have carried out a survey of past-pupils in our school who took part in our Tiny Forest project in the year 2,000 at our school; many are involved in community gardening and similar projects years later. They have been not at all likely to vandalise trees in public places. By involving youngsters in tree-planting we feel it probable that there is likely to be a lower incidence of vandalism to trees planted in such vulnerable areas.
- facilitating schools where possible in planting suitable saplings children have grown from seed where schools have inadequate space on their own grounds, as suggested in your excellent worksheets for teachers.
- co-operating with local schools in planting areas of suitable trees in areas set aside for biodiversity
- If councils need to plant trees anywhere, I suggested that it would be very useful to liaise with local schools and children could show up (in the style of the President, even...once the ground had been prepared, holes had been dug and trees lifted off the van...) and do the planting part, the children thus gaining a sense of responsibility for the local trees.
Since 93% of schools in Ireland are participating in the Green Schools programme, assisting at tree-planting is an activity which would be a welcome invitation to most schools. If the site is too difficult for a class to attend, smaller groups could be invited and Green Committees may be in a position to send a delegation. Often children with special needs would take particular delight in such an outing. This type of activity we have found in our school is very welcome in communities. Children love to be outside the school gate and are thrilled to spot their parents and relatives going about their day. The elderly take particular delight in encountering the youngsters and often stop to chat with us, perhaps showing off a little dog or describing their walk to a clinic.
Where possible native trees be selected for city planting to encourage biodiversity.
3.5.3 Sponsored Memorial Tree Planting;
We wish to bring your attention to this initiative in the U.K., similar to Dublin's but with elements which may be worth considering since the removal of signage after a short time is a novel idea, it happens when the support is removed naturally and the cost is affordable;
There is currently no easy way to purchase a tree growing in Dublin. I am bombarded with emails advertising Forestry Investment Opportunities in Dublin. Many Dubliners would be happy to pay for a tree in a park with temporary signage as works in the UK not just to commemorate a loved one but as a gift in the manner of the Millenium Arboretum in St. Anne's Park. Banning signage from the tree means a useful sponsorship avenue is closed. It has been identified as an annoyance in terms of the Millenium Arboretum and Forests; a simple tag on a tree for a limited time will allow people visit a particular tree and if it is thinned after that, they have had time to enjoy it in the meantime. The co-ordinates that were given to each family were a disappointment to all it seems, tagging seems a simpler solution. At our school we have sponsored trees for new babies, for occasions such as the centenary of 1916 and will be planting one to
a retirement next month, they do not need to be solely as a memorial and they are much loved.
On a light note, as part of Objective
2.4 Survey the city’s public trees and using the tree management software create a baseline inventory to better understand the urban tree resource and determine future needs. Parks Service 2017 consider the email-a-tree idea which may appeal to the naturally poetic Dubliners, to report issues with individual trees.
4.1 Aims & Objectives There are four key aims for the City’s Trees: Objectives These aims translate into 4 specific objectives Protect, Care, Plant more, Communicate.
Aims and objectives appear to be broadly similar in the above section. In the Education sector, our brief is to make aims aspirational but objectives specific and measureable. The Action Plan would appear to be the objectives as we view them. Plant "more" is an aspiration but it would be more useful for your metrics to put a number on this and a tick box to be completed on achievement. We wish to recommend a much bolder set of objectives, of a type used successfully in our school as we have won our five International Green Flags.
Each school within the Dublin City Council will be offered one sapling from a list of native trees on being awarded a Green Flag in the planting season 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 following the May of their award. The sapling can be collected from a Council depot during National Tree Week and should the school have insufficient space for the tree, a location will be suggested in a park within the city where school representatives can by arrangement and under the supervision of the Parks department plant the tree. Alternatively the school can nominate another suitable place for the tree to be planted such as a private garden.
Each school within the Dublin City Council will be offered one sapling per class in their school from a list of native trees on being awarded a Green Flag in the planting season 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 following the May of their award. The sapling can be collected from a Council depot during National Tree Week and should the school have insufficient space for the tree, a location will be suggested in a park within the city where school representatives can by arrangement and under the supervision of the Parks department plant the tree. Alternatively the school can nominate another suitable place for the tree to be planted such as a private garden.
Each school child within the Dublin City Council will be offered one sapling per class in their school from a list of native trees on being awarded a Green Flag in the planting season 2020/2021 following the May of their award. The sapling can be collected from a Council depot during National Tree Week and should the school have insufficient space for the tree, a location will be suggested in a park within the city where school representatives can by arrangement and under the supervision of the Parks department plant the tree. Alternatively the school can nominate another suitable place for the tree to be planted such as a private garden.
Given the natural tendency of a percentage of saplings, even with exemplary care, not to thrive, adequate provision will be made for replacement of saplings over time with replacements to be planted by children where possible.
Many citizens remember with fondness the Millenium initiative to plant one tree per family. Ireland's commitment to the Global Goals on Sustainability which are operational as of now require dramatic action for their realisation. We are at a moment not unlike when the Pope visited Dublin in 1979; nobody thought Dublin would be ready on time but we had a deadline and rose to the occasion. This is such a moment. Dublin's citizens will be inspired by Council leadership of the executive in this matter. Our 100th anniversary is a good moment to launch an ambitious target. Trees grow seven times faster in Ireland than anywhere else in Europe, even Scandinavia. We will be a very Emerald City indeed in short order if the City teams up with our Green Schools, a formidable force, so admired by the Chinese that they sent a delegation to study our success and copy it in their million schools.
Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to this strategy. Should you require any further information about our project do not hesitate to contact me. We intend to plant our million trees in Ireland by 2020 and we would love to have you join us even if only in the smallest way you can. We will be holding a Tree Planting Academy after November involving several invited Dublin schools
with a planting session for 300 trees and a Climate specialist from Met. Eireann which you might enjoy and we will keep you informed.