On Monday the 27th January two 1st year classes from St Columba’s College braved the elements to move their classrooms outdoors, to take part in activities that highlighted the fundamentals of forest and tree ecology through the Investigate Forests initiative. Just a short walk from Drumboe Forest park, the students of St Columba’s are very lucky with the facilities at their doorstep. While there the students learned how to calculate the age and height of trees, and how this information can help calculate the carbon content of the trees. The school can now use the knowledge and skills learned through these activities to further investigate forests and climate.

Green-Schools in partnership with LEAF Ireland, with support from the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine is delivering 100 workshops to schools working on the Green-Schools Biodiversity theme across Ireland. Investigate Forests workshops are for national schools and secondary schools and focus on promoting the multifunctional benefits of forests.

The workshops also help schools create Habitat Maps of their grounds; establishing what trees, shrubs and habitats already exist and offer advice on how they might be improved or expanded. Workshops include talks about the importance of our forests and our native and non-native trees species. Students learn about how trees provide products, oxygen, economic well-being, sustain biodiversity and their importance to flood and climate mitigation.

To round off the workshop at St Columba’s, students planted native Irish acorns (provided by Coillte) and bareroot Alder trees on the school grounds.