BELFAST City Council’s One Million Trees project is continuing at pace with the planting of native trees in Musgrave Park.
Residents were joined by the local Men’s Shed and Cllr Geraldine McAteer as they planted a range of trees on grassland within the park.
Belfast City Council’s Community Parks Outreach Manager, Micky Culbert said that they have been planting trees in parks across the city for the last ten years and now they are taking the project to schools and communities twice a week.
“Every Tuesday we will be having schools in West Belfast planting and on a Friday we will have our volunteer day as part of our One Million Trees project,” he said. “The trees that we are planting are all native and biodiversity friendly and it gives people the opportunity to come along, meet new people and have a bit of craic.
“The grassland where the trees are would have been cut but now we are reducing our carbon footprint by not using machines to cut the grass, we are creating habitats and everything we plant is added nature value.”
Micky said that when the trees have matured, they are encouraging people to make use of their fruits.
“The berries on the blackthorn can make sloe gin, the rowan berries make a nice jelly, the oaks, pines and birch are all native and have a story which we tell the school kids.”
Joining the group for volunteer day, Cllr Geraldine McAteer described it as a fantastic opportunity to get out and encouraged other councillors to join her.
“The most important thing is that you are getting out, joining other people, and planting trees," she said. “We have a big ambition in Belfast City Council to plant one million trees because it is brilliant for the environment.
“Many of the trees that we are planting are fruit trees and the public are allowed to take fruit from them. It also helps in terms of our zero carbon targets as trees are hugely beneficial in terms of air quality.”
Cllr McAteer praised the work of Belfast City Council’s staff in bringing the project to fruition.
“We have two fantastic council workers here,” she said. “They are very enthusiastic about working with schools and working with members of the public.
“Over the next few years as these saplings grow, a lot of the school children will come back and learn about park and tree management to identify diseased plants and take them away to leave a good, healthy woodland.”
Cllr McAteer added that she is looking forward to seeing the fruit trees blossom in spring and encouraged people to make use of the harvest in autumn.