Volunteers from NIE Networks and The Conservation Volunteers pulled on their wellies this week to help pupils from Ballymoney Model Controlled Integrated Primary School plant an orchard in the school grounds.
The pupils involved are the 'Eco Councillors' from P4 to P7 classes and, together with The Conservation Volunteers and Ailish McLaughlin from NIE Networks, they planted apple, plum and pear trees, which should produce good crops of fruit in the years to come.
TCV organised the planting as part of an ongoing scheme, sponsored by NIE Networks, which will enable the planting of five community orchards at five sites across Northern Ireland.
This is a great way to involve local pupils in improving the school environment and we are delighted to be once again working with NIE Networks. We believe that involving local people in these projects not only promotes sustainability, but also encourages a greater awareness of how our health and well being is enhanced by taking part in conservation activities.
Barbara Boardman, Director of TCV in Northern Ireland
Alastair Usher, NIE Networks Environment Officer, is pleased the company is involved in helping stimulate new tree growth, well away from the electricity network! Alastair joined in the planting, saying, “Supporting community projects has always been part of NIE Networks’ ethos, and planting fruit trees will help pupils understand the need for sustainability. We want to encourage them to make the most of the natural resources we have around us and we’re keen to promote local biodiversity".
The community orchard project continues the longstanding partnership between NIE Networks and TCV and plantings of further orchards as well as localised woodlands took place at other sites across Northern Ireland in March and will do again later in the year.
In our line of work safety always comes first and during the year we ensure thousands of kilometres of overhead electricity network are clear of any vegetation growing beside it. ...we’ve worked with TCV to plant new native trees, helping replace those cut back because of our overhead line refurbishment and vegetation management programmes. We also welcome the involvement of young people in these planting projects.
Alastair Usher, NIE Networks Environment Officer