SPAR National Tree Day is an opportunity for children, teachers and parents to put down the school books, spend time outdoors and learn to become more environmentally aware. Trees help to clean our air, help to fight the climate crisis and, if we take time to look under the tree, we can see how they support and protect whole eco-systems, offering shelter, shade, food, resting and nesting spaces as well as a food source for birds and insects.
There are 1,500 Native Irish Wild Cherry tree saplings available through the campaign website for primary schools to plant on their school grounds, or in a pot in the classroom. More details on the campaign, how to get involved and how, just like a tree, we can be great neighbours to the environment can be found at www.treeday.ie. Videos, lesson plans, poster downloads as well as information on recycling, food waste and nature walks are also available.
Eanna Ní Lamhna, President of the Tree Council of Ireland, commented, “Trees are absolutely essential. As we’ve spent more time out and about in nature over the last while, we can all appreciate how much they add to our environment and see just what good neighbours they are. They look after us in so many ways from cleaning our air to enriching our soil and support so much wildlife. This SPAR National Tree Day is a great opportunity for us all to stop and think about how we can return the favour and support the trees. We’d be delighted to see as many schools as possible register for their free sapling and keep on pledging to help the environment.”
Colin Donnelly, SPAR Sales Director said, “We’re really excited and proud ‘under the Tree at SPAR’ to be working with the Tree Council of Ireland as their new partner. To mark this year’s SPAR National Tree Day campaign, we want to encourage children to think about all we get from trees, how they enhance our communities and are wonderful neighbours to the environment. There are SPAR stores in over 400 communities throughout Ireland so being able to show children and their families how they can make more sustainable choices that support their neighbourhoods is really important to us. Giving children the opportunity to down tools for the day, re-connect with nature and enjoy the natural world around them, wherever in Ireland they live, is a great cause for celebration.”
Each year a focus is placed on a different native tree and the chosen tree for this year’s SPAR National Tree Day is the Wild Cherry or Crann Silíní Fiáin, one of Ireland’s most beautiful native trees. With its white or very pale pink flowers in spring, followed by hanging cherries in the autumn, which can be either sour or sweet depending on the tree, it’s a particular favourite with birds. By eating the fruit, birds such as the thrush and blackbird, and mammals like the badger and pine marten help to disperse them country-wide.
To win some perfect pollinators for under your favourite tree, keep an eye on Instagram @Spar_Ireland and see how to claim bulbs to plant in time for spring!
To find out more about this year’s SPAR National Tree Day and to claim a FREE Native Irish Wild Cherry tree sapling for your school, visit www.treeday.ie.
Did you know?
The Wild Cherry, with its beautiful blossoms and useful fruit was considered long ago to be a symbol of youthfulness, beauty and love. It is a native Irish tree and in early Irish law was classified in the second highest rank of tree Aithig fedo or Commoner of the wood, along with other fruit-bearing trees such as hawthorn and rowan. High value was placed on it and the law at that time said that the fine for cutting one down was the price of two and a half milch cows. Cherry stones have been found in a late Bronze Age crannog in Co. Offaly, showing that cherries were eaten as food in those times.
Campaign mascot, Sammy Squirrel offers his tips on how you can help!
1. Plant a tree. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen helping us to tackle climate change. They give shelter and food to birds, animals and insects.
2. Plant wild flowers in your garden. These will provide food - i.e. pollen and nectar for bees.
3. Go for a walk outdoors. Look out for insects, worms, snails and ladybirds. Collect twigs, leaves and flowers to make a collage when you get home.
4. Look down! Take time out to see what lives under the tree. It provides shelter and food for lots of animals and creepy crawlies.
5. Become the recycling hero for your family. Help them by showing everyone how to recycle properly.
6. Get creative and repurpose a bird feeder out of a carton for your garden, balcony or window sill.
7. Cut down on food waste. If you don’t eat all your lunch today, check if it will keep until tomorrow.
8. Walk, scoot or cycle to school. This will help to reduce your carbon footprint.
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