Environment

Belfast Hills Partnership seek tree & hedge planting volunteers

Belfast Hills Partnership aim to plant as many trees and hedgerows as possible to help generate oxygen, store carbon and provide homes and sustenance for wildlife

DO YOU love trees and the outdoors? Do you want to make your mark to help local wildlife? If so, then the Belfast Hills Partnership (BHP) need your help to plant 6,500 trees and hedging plants before the end of March.

Tree planting is essential to help generate oxygen, store carbon and provide homes and sustenance for wildlife. Most of the trees to be planted this season are part of BHP's industrial renovation project and are being planted in quarry and landfill sites.

These trees will help to restore these former industrial sites to a more natural state. Some of the trees are also part of their invasive species and woodland resilience projects and 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' to assist bugs and other insects in travelling 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.

The new hedges are designed to link existing areas of hedging and trees providing greater connectivity for wildlife.

BHP need volunteers to help them plant as many trees and hedgerows as possible throughout the Belfast hills.

"Tree and hedge planting is one of the most enjoyable volunteer tasks," explains Belfast Hills Partnership volunteer officer Lisa Critchley.

"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."

Planting will take place on Monday mornings from 10.30am until 1pm on private and public land and industrial sites from Slievenacloy to Carnmoney.

To find out more and register your interest, contact Lisa at the Belfast Hills Partnership on 028 9060 3466 or lisa.critchley@belfasthills.org

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