Standing witness: Tall tales on National Tree Day


CHILDREN AND teachers will swap schoolbooks for seeds this Thursday to mark the 16th National Tree Day.

The 2012 event is organised by the Tree Council of Ireland with support from the Department of Education and Skills.

This year’s theme is “Dá mbeadh crainn in ann labhairt” or “If trees could talk” to bring attention to the amazing events and changes trees have stood witness to in their lifetimes.

Mary Keenan, executive director of the Tree Council of Ireland, said she hoped that the theme would help children to understand “that old trees have great stories to tell”.

She asked parents to help them learn the histories, whether they are of personal, local or even national significance.

“Our story is really interwoven with that of the tree,” said Ms Keenan, noting the special role that trees have in Ireland’s history, culture and mythology.

While younger children are invited to learn the parts of the tree, the older years are taught poetry, more in-depth science and about the vital role of trees in industry.

The modules, as well as colouring packs and other information, are available on the tree day website.

Because environmental efforts and education should extend all year round, many schools choose to use their involvement in tree day as part of An Taisce’s green schools programme.

The programme, which is known as the eco-schools programme internationally, aims to encourage and reward schools that incorporate long-term, positive action for the environment.

Currently, some 3,600 schools in Ireland are involved in the programme, with 2,573 having been awarded the green flag for their efforts in working through six themes, including litter and waste, energy and water.

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