LEAF Ireland and Coillte are delighted to be working together again this year to deliver four new Na Coillte Beaga (little woodlands) in schools around Ireland.  This year, the schools are in counties: Carlow, Kerry, Wicklow, and Donegal.  Coillte is providing the native trees for the students to plant and is funding the delivery of the four projects. The staff of LEAF Ireland and the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce are delivering the projects alongside the students and staff of the schools.

An Choill Bheag (AnCB) is a long-term educational programme, an initiative of LEAF Ireland and the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce. The aim is to create small, dense native woodland habitats for biodiversity and an educational and recreational resource for schools and communities to enjoy.

Our experienced team will help the students and staff of the four participating schools to plan, plant, and manage the project from start to finish.  Preparations are underway and planting will begin in November.  Once the trees are planted, we will encourage the schools to introduce understory plants that will further increase the biodiversity in the woodlands.  As well as establishing a woodland, we engage and educate participants about the importance of our woodlands and how to care for them as they mature. Planting is appropriate to the site, space, and situation. Local resources and materials will be used wherever possible.

Students from Ballyboy National School, Co. Offaly, planting their An Choill Bheag, March 2022, kindly funded by Coillte.

In addition, to these four new projects, the original six schools where we planted last year will each receive a follow up visit and support over this academic year. These visits are invaluable as they provide an opportunity to further educate staff and students about how to care and manage their woodlands and go deeper into the benefits that woodlands provide.

Bernard Burke, Area Manager for Coillte, Southwest Munster.

“Coillte is delighted to be involved in this proactive, practical and sustainable tree planting initiative”.

Rachel Geary from LEAF Ireland (EEU).

“The benefits of planting these little woodlands are countless.  We are really delighted to be working alongside Coillte again this year to deliver these four new projects. I have no doubt the schools will benefit immensely from having these little woodlands on their school grounds.”

Students from Presentation Secondary School, Tralee, Co. Kerry, learning about the benefits of their An Choill Bheag. Planted in 2022, kindly funded by Coillte.