Hundreds of trees have been planted on Cork’s northside as Gurranabraher and Churchfield come together as part of the Green Spine Initiative.
Over 500 native Irish trees were planted, creating a micro-urban woodland now known as the Grovee Grove.
The mixed native trees can be seen growing on a quarter acre, south-facing bank opposite the grotto at Sun Valley Park.
HSE Health Action Zone (HAZ) Project and Youth Work Ireland Cork are leading the project, which is funded and supported by Cork City Council.
All of the trees were sourced by local group “Treesplease” whose nursery is based at council-owned Churchfield allotments, with close planting to enable high carbon capture from the atmosphere.
The planting is described as a high ‘Biodiversity Impact Action’ that will enhance biodiversity in the area, with native varieties including birch, alder, hazel, Scots Pine, oak, hawthorn, willow, and rowan being rooted in the area.
Many young people from the two areas took part in the project and are said to have a sense of “ownership” over the newly planted trees.
Joe Curtain, a youth worker at The Hut in Gurranabraher Youth Centre said: “the Groovee Grove has been a great vehicle to get local young people involved in their community through the Green Spine Initiative.
“The planting has really given them a sense of ownership of the area and really grown local interest in biodiversity so they will look after it into the future. Also, the trees are going to massively enhance the area”, he said.
Social distancing was implemented in the planting of the trees where each young person who is also part of The Hut’s bike group, individually planted their trees and are now looking to advocate for a bicycle track to be put in the area so they can enjoy bike rides by the Grovee Grove.
Stephen Scully, from Cork City Council Parks & Recreation Department, has said the inclusion of young people in this intervention “will make a big difference to the locality and impact as a learning process for all involved.”
Another 28 apple trees were also planted with Scoil Padre Pio, St Mary’s Primary Care Campus (orthopaedic), B45 Preschool, and at Sun Valley Park.
A second Groovee Grove is being established on the rooftop of The Hut and an Oak Ogham Circle is being developed in the Quad of St Mary's Campus with HSE staff.
An event will be held next month to welcome the trees and to help local youth and community groups to support the trees as they grow.