Do you love trees and the outdoors? Do you have a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ to get fit or make a difference in 2018? Do you want to make your mark to help local wildlife? If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of these, then the Belfast Hills Partnership can help you fulfill your wishes! We need volunteers to help plant 6,500 trees and hedging plants before the end of March 2018!
Tree planting is vital, as they not only generate oxygen and store carbon, but provide homes and food to a huge range of wildlife. Most of the trees to be planted this season are part of our industrial renovation project and so are being planted in quarry and landfill sites throughout the Belfast Hills. These trees will help restore these industrial sites to a more natural state. Some of the trees are also part of our invasive species and woodland resilience projects and so are being planted in woods where invasive plants have been removed or where tree diseases will have the most impact. This planting will strengthen the woodlands by increasing the number of different species in the area.
Hedges provide safe ‘wildlife corridors’ for bugs and beasties to travel through from one habitat area to another. They are also an essential food source for birds and small mammals as well as pollinators and other insects. Our new hedges are designed to link existing areas of hedging and trees providing greater connectivity for wildlife.
It is our mission, with your help, to plant as many trees and hedgerows as possible in the Hills.
Belfast Hills Partnership Volunteer Officer Lisa Critchley said the planting tasks are a great opportunity for anyone who enjoys being outdoors:
“Tree and hedge planting is one of the most enjoyable volunteer tasks. You can see the impact you have made and will be able to show your friends and family what you planted. Generations of people (and wildlife!) will enjoy your hard work for years to come. The visual effect in the hills will be extensive, especially in the industrial sites.
The role is very rewarding and anyone can enjoy it! All you need is warm layers, good boots and a big grin.”
One volunteer said:
“I feel that we are valued and contributing to something big…volunteering with the BHP is fun, educational, a good work out as well as good craic!”
The project is part of the Belfast Hills Landscape Partnership Scheme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Woodland Trusts MOREwoods scheme.
The planting will take place on Monday mornings from 10:30am-1pm. The planting will be on private and public land and industrial sites across the Belfast Hills, from Slievenacloy to Carnmoney.
To find out more and register your interest, contact Lisa at the Belfast Hills Partnership on 02890 603 466 or email [email protected]