An Choill Bheag is a wonderful initiative of LEAF Ireland and on the 6th & 7th of February 2019, Thomond Community College planted our Choill Bheag in our school grounds.  There was a palpable air of excitement among the 2nd Year Woodwork students as the boots and wellies were put on in preparation for the outdoors. Niamh Ní Dhúill, An Choill Bheag Coordinator, and Sean Hartigan, LEAF Officer, arrived early. The bark mulch was unloaded as all proceeded to do the first planting. Planting 200 native Irish trees was the goal!

Digging a hole is an art that was quickly mastered by the students and they were delighted that they were going to become a teaching team for the 1st Year students.  Each 1st Year class was taught how to plant a tree by the 2nd Years.  Students loved the experience. With the trees planted, the next learning was the placing of the cardboard around the trees along with the bark mulch.

It was a wonderful experience as the following comments, memories and learning show:

“I thought it was great as we are building nature on our doorstep”
“It’s cool to know that after we leave school the trees we planted will still be there”‘Actively learning how to plant a tree’
‘Putting down the mulch as I was so focused on getting it done that I blocked out everything else.’
‘Watching everyone race with the buckets and wheelbarrows full of mulch!’
‘Teaching the first years to plant a tree’
‘The teamwork and the fun’
‘When at the end we took a look at all our work’ 

What students learned:

‘The difference between a spade and a shovel’
‘Roots shouldn’t be showing when you plant a tree’
‘That cardboard comes from trees’
‘Never knew how to plant a tree but now I know!’