How do you like them apples? The credit union movement has backed an ambitious plan to plant 7,000 native trees across East Cork.
Some 6,900 native broadleaf trees and 100 apple trees will be planted on school grounds and in public spaces in the region to create 15 micro woodlands and 10 micro orchards.
The orchards will have 10 apple trees in each, with a mix of eating and cooking apples, which will be free to the public to pick.
The project, which is being coordinated by the East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme (ECBNP), is supported by the credit unions in Cobh and Youghal, and by the Health Services Staffs Credit Union.
More than 1,000 people will be involved in the planting operation which will see oak, ash, yew, hazel and holly tree planted from November.
ECBNP founder Proinsias Ó Tuama, said there were many benefits to nature and biodiversity during the lockdown and that many people enjoyed connecting with their environment during that time.
He said this planting project will engage hundreds of school children, with schools and tidy towns groups being encouraged to celebrate trees and their value to the environment.
“This project will also support the many tidy towns groups and community councils who are taking actions for our pollinators,” he said.
“This project has its roots in education and helping to mitigate against the climate crisis.
“Everybody needs something to look forward to right now because of the ongoing worldwide pandemic.
“This project will help strengthen bonds that have been created during the Covid-19 crisis that have affected all our communities in so many different ways. We are delighted to have Cobh, Youghal and the HSSCU.ie supporting us to fulfil this goal.”
Kieran Quinn, a spokesperson for Youghal Credit Union, said they were delighted to help.
“The micro woodlands and orchards are not only bringing our communities together to plant the trees but also contributing to our green strategy here in the credit union,” he said.
Alan Duff from the HSSCU.ie said they recognise the importance and the value the planting scheme will bring to the environment and that it will help tackle the biodiversity and climate breakdown crisis.
Michael Carlin, from Cobh Credit Union, said they have a long tradition of supporting community and environmental projects.
“We are thrilled to be doing our bit for the environment by supporting this project,” he said.