National Tree Day: Pippa Hackett says she wants ‘to see planting under my watch’

On this National Tetra Pak Tree Day (Thursday, October 1), Minister of State for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett says that “we need to plant more trees”.

The Tree Council of Ireland, supported by Tetra Pak, called on primary schools across the country to plant a tree today. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Be a Force for Nature”, to encourage primary school children around the country to become more active in sustainability and climate issues.

Speaking today, as she herself planted a tree in a national school in Co. Dublin, the minister said: ‘‘We need to plant more trees in Ireland.

“I want to see that planting happen under my watch. I want all of us, individuals, farmers, schools, businesses, organisations and local authorities to look at whatever land they own and consider planting some trees.’’ 

Referring to the theme for this year’s campaign, the minister, who was accompanied by Eanna Ní Lamhna, president of the Tree Council of Ireland, encouraged the primary school children she met to “become more active in sustainability and climate issues”.

She continued:

“Days like this give us all an opportunity to put down the school books, spend time outdoors and become more aware and I would really like us to be much more aware of the benefits of trees.

They serve so many purposes, from providing us with beauty, noise barriers and shade, to the bigger positives, like storing storm water, filtering pollutants and removing carbon dioxide from the air.

Minister Hackett also referred to future forestry policy.

She said she is “determined to encourage farmers and foresters to increase diversity in both broadleaved and conifer species”.

“We have one of the lowest levels of tree cover in Europe. That must increase, but it must increase in a way which is sympathetic to our native trees and our habitats while still delivering for commercial forestry and the timber industry.

“I will be working on the range of schemes and measures to increase the levels of diverse planting while also developing an improved model for forestry in Ireland.”

Background to National Tree Day

As part of this year’s event, 1,500 native tree saplings will be made available through the campaign website for primary schools to plant on their school grounds, or in a pot in the classroom. Planting a tree is also one of the requirements to achieve the Green-School’s Green Flag for Biodiversity.

Each year Tetra Pak Tree Day places a focus on a different native tree and this year the chosen tree is the Scots Pine or An Giúis, one of Ireland’s few evergreen trees.