Launch of Cork School Garden Project
The sun shone brightly in Dripsey and the team at Griffins Garden Centre pulled out all the stops to get everything ready for the official Launch of the seventh Muintir na Tire Cork School Garden Project. Mr Seamus Forde County Chairman Muintir na Tíre was on hand to welcome the large crowd to the launch.
Muintir na Tíre, Cork County Council Environment and Heritage Sections and Griffins Garden Centre have all come together to organise this exciting Project / Competition and the seventh annual competition is now officially open and over twenty primary schools across the County have already entered.
Mr Sean Holland Chairman of the School Garden Project said that this Year the theme is Climate Change and Gardening and there will be special Awards for garden elements that include Upcycling, Food Production and Biodiversity. School gardens that are Pollinator friendly will also be awarded.
He added that it is widely accepted that Upcycling helps lessen the amount of waste going into landfills. Upcycling helps reduce CO2 emissions by using old materials instead of new ones. Schools are encouraged to rethink, repair, refurbish along with reusing & recycling items e.g. Fairy Houses made from recycled materials, but don’t damage trees.
Being able to grow food without pesticides and eat it straight from the garden is superior in every way to produce that is pumped full of additives, packed to prevent it deteriorating, transported and then sold as ‘fresh’. Schools are asked to grow in raised beds and containers, plant fruit trees, fruit Bushes, practice rotation, weeding, labelling, use of composting, rainwater harvesting, wormeries etc.
It is now widely recognized that climate change and biodiversity are interconnected. Biodiversity is affected by climate change, with negative consequences for human well-being, but biodiversity, through the ecosystem services it supports, also makes an important contribution to both climate-change mitigation and adaptation. The Cork School Garden Project is looking for natural hedges, log piles, bird boxes, bird tables, wildflower meadows, and nature trails, use of native flora, organic manures and natural pest control.
Loss of natural and semi-natural habitats has been a key driver in pollinator declines. The availability of food plants and nesting sites has been drastically reduced through conversion of low-intensity farmland and semi-natural land to intensive farmland, forestry and urban/industrial use. Griffins Garden Centre will again be presenting a special Bee Friendly award
Speaking at the Launch Deputy County Mayor Joe Harris praised this great initiative that helps children to learn the importance of nature while staying active.
Special guests included the children and teachers of Gaelscoil Ui Drisceoil Dunkettle Glanmire Overall winner in 2018. The students got the opportunity to meet and chat with local beekeepers and learn the importance of Bee Friendly Gardening. They also learned how to make plant pots from recycled newspaper and how to make seed bombs for wildflower gardening.
Margaret Griffins and the Local beekeepers are asking schools to help protect our bees and to plant Bee friendly gardens. Her message is simple. Plant flowers and bees will follow. This year Griffins are again awarding a special award for the best Bee friendly Garden.
Margaret and her team also gave the children and teachers lots of invaluable advice on recycling and potting up old wellies, old handbags and even using their new compostable coffee cups, which can be planted directly into the soil.
Dr. Mary Stack who was one of the inspirations behind the project said that young people are the key to saving our planet and Conor Nelligan Heritage Officer urged schools to think Biodiversity when gardening. Conor pointed out that a single Oak Tree is home to over 500 species he urged schools to take part in the upcoming National Tree week by planting native Irish trees.
The Garden Categories include Food production, Biodiversity/Wildlife Garden, Up-Cycling, Art and colour Garden, Mixed Garden, Small Garden, Best New Garden, Creative Ireland Innovation and Creativity, use of Irish in gardening and the overall best Pride of County Cork Garden. All schools all automatically judged for this Award.
Log on now to www.muintircork.com to register your school for The 2019 School Gardens Project.