independent

Thursday 5 December 2019

Pupils sow seeds of tomorrow

Schoolchildren across Wexford are planting trees at their homes in a bid to improve the environment while volunteers are out in force on local beaches picking up rubbish

Larry Kinsella (Colaiste Bhride Carnew), Alex Browne (Monaseed National School), Ceilidh Kinsella (Monaseed National School), and Faye McGuinness (Monaseed National School) with Laurence Kinsella
Larry Kinsella (Colaiste Bhride Carnew), Alex Browne (Monaseed National School), Ceilidh Kinsella (Monaseed National School), and Faye McGuinness (Monaseed National School) with Laurence Kinsella

Simon Bourke

Students from North Wexford schools have once more showed they are leading the way when it comes to tackling climate change as they took part in a pilot programme designed to improve their local environment.

The Plant and Grow for Tomorrow (PGT) initiative sees native trees delivered to participating schools, students then select a tree of their choice to bring home and plant. Once the tree has been planted the students take a photo and send it to the PGT and receive a 'Planet Hero' certificate in return.

Gorey Community School was one of the first schools in Ireland to sign up for this programme and its Principal, Michael Finn said the programme had been hugely beneficial for his students.

'The Plant and Grow For Tomorrow programme was very well structured, positive and encouraged the students to take action. The planting of the trees was a real act, it was something beautiful.'

Speaking at a special convention in The Craan Suite in the Ashdown Hotel, Mr Finn was joined by teachers and pupils from schools in Monaseed, Kilanerin, Ballyfad, Craanford, Camolin, Riverchapel, Ballindaggin, Tombrack and Courtown who had also taken part in the programme.

They were interviewed by Laurence Kinsella, Plant and Grow organiser and coordinator, and he was full of praise for the young environmentalists.

'The level of uptake and support for this innovative programme is phenomenal. The passion for climate change was evident as principals, teachers and their pupils in the North Wexford area all spoke with clarity and deep conviction about the benefits of this environmental programme,' Laurence said. 'All pupils displayed a deep understanding about the workings of the programme and its value in today's world.'

Discussing the thinking behind his project Laurence said the ultimate goal was to reduce the adverse environmental impact causing climate change by implementing a certifiable planting programme of indigenous Irish trees on Irish soil.

And the PGT initiative doesn't just improve our environment, it also has a positive impact on the hearts and minds of those who take part in it.

'Psychological research shows a correlation between childhood contact with nature and better mental health. This connection between the pupil and their tree leads to increased environmental awareness. Planting a tree is often a pupil's first act of real engagement with the environment. When they're planting a tree they are literally putting down lasting roots, connecting them to their community,' explained Laurence.

Marie Louise Byrne, Community Development Coordinator for Wexford Local Development was delighted with the programme and how it brings communities together while helping young people act positively and constructively to improve the environment.

'Planting a tree empowers children into realising that they can make a personal difference for climate change today,' she said.

To register your school for participation in the national 'Plant and Grow For Tomorrow' Programme contact info@plantandgrowfortomorrow.com

Wexford People

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