Getting out into nature has been key for so many of us during all three lockdowns and so it’s only right that we give something back to nature as thanks.
his is where the team from Kerry International Film Festival (KIFF) and the Tralee Rotary Club come in; the two groups have teamed up to help fund 4,000 new tress in the new Castlegregory Nature Park and the adjoining Meán Scoil Nua an Leith Triúigh school garden.
The tree-planting is part of KIFF’s evolving environmental policy outlined in their 20121 – 2026 Five Year Strategic Plan. Having just celebrated their 21st edition, the Festival went through a strategic planning process under the guidance of independent consultant, John Gannon to create a vision for the future.
KIFF Board Member, Ailbhe Keogan said that the initiative was a way of the festival giving back to nature, even if in the grand scheme of things, it was on a small scale.
“On the environmental front, we wanted to give back in a meaningful way and make a practical difference, even if on a small scale. Out of small seeds grow big trees.”
Michael Kelly of the Castlegregory Community Council was additionally very passionate about the new park.
“This nature park will be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, but more than that, it will be home to a wide variety of plants and animals that are increasingly at risk in Ireland.
We are hugely appreciative of KIFF and Tralee Rotary Club, who are funding the planting of native hedgerow and woodland trees.
Our whole eco-system relies on biodiversity. Land clearance policies see Ireland on the verge of ecological collapse. Sadly, we are one of the least biodiverse countries in Europe, as well as the least forested with only 8% native woodland cover’,” he continued.
Over 4000 trees have been purchased from the Trees on the Land, a cross-border initiative working to establish young native trees across the 32 counties.
Their vision is to establish tree cover and woodland in rural and urban areas that will grow for many years and provide valuable resources, beneficial ecosystem services and a lasting legacy for future generations.
Tralee Rotary Club President, Sharon Hayes said the club was very happy to be part of such a worthwhile initiative and one that will have
“Tralee Rotary Club are delighted to partner with KIFF in relation to this very worthwhile initiative being undertaken by Castlegregory Community Council. It falls to all of us to be mindful of our native wildlife, flora and fauna and to do what we can to protect what we have.”
Finally, KIFF Chairperson Grace O’ Donnell said that the chance to help do their part to reduce their carbon footprint was one that was too hard to turn down.
“This is a wonderful opportunity as an organisation to reduce out carbon foot print and to progress our green agenda. It is also important to us that we can do this by supporting a local project.”