Friday, 23 November 2012

Launch of Tree Week in Carrickfergus Borough

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee launched National Tree Week in Carrickfergus Borough at Whitehead Primary School on Friday 23rd November 2012. The launch will highlight the TREEmendous achievements since the year 2000, in which Carrickfergus Borough Council has planted 160,000 trees and by the end of this tree planting season we will have planted a further 5,000 trees around the Borough.

Alderman Beattie said “Now more than ever has confirmed the need to plant more trees. Recent events have confirmed that the view across the countryside and in our towns is set to change faster than anyone could have expected. In recent years, pests and diseases have started to threaten some of our most loved trees, such as oak and horse chestnut, but the spread of ash dieback and the anticipated devastation of the UK population of ash trees has left everyone considering what the next steps should be.”

“Planting a tree is a very positive thing to do and is great fun, even in the depths of winter. There are plenty of reasons to get planting – it's great exercise, children love it, and you'll be making a valuable contribution to our community woodland. To take part in a tree planting event or for further information contact: Stephen Daye, Parks & Countryside Development Officer at Carrickfergus Borough Council. t: 93358039 or e:”. ended Alderman Beattie

“Anyone with land of their own, whether a garden, woodland or field, can make a difference to their view by adding a tree”, said Pauline Buchanan Black, Director-General of The Tree Council. “This year, though, the campaign carries particular significance as we look for ways to minimise the impact of ash dieback and carefully consider what to plant. Rising concern about tree diseases has also reminded us of the importance of checking not only where the seed of their tree started life, but also where it was germinated and grown. Not since Plant A Tree in ’73 has there been the same urgency to safeguard a view for the future”.

Alasdair Douglas, Chair of The Tree Council, added “It is almost exactly 40 years since Secretary of State for the Environment Peter Walker stood up in the House of Commons and announced that the following year was to be designated National Tree Planting Year. This was the Government initiative to encourage the planting of new trees to replace those millions killed by Dutch Elm Disease. The Tree Council was formed from that initiative and has been running National Tree Week ever since. We couldn’t have foreseen that we’d be faced with the losses from a tree disease of similar epidemic proportions just as we go in to National Tree Week but this seems a timely moment to ask the public to think carefully about what will happen to their view and what they will do to restore it for future generations.”

Next Tree planting event: Tree Planting Day at Amphitheatre Mill Ponds on Thursday 29th November at 10am. For further information please visit

For further information on this or future tree planting events please contact Stephen Daye on 9335 8000. More tree planting events will take place in January, February & March to keep in touch visit

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

“Blooming” Busy Pupils Help Local Traders!

Downshire School’s Year 11 and Year 12 Horticulture classes were busy this week preparing floral hanging baskets for traders to display in the centre of Carrickfergus.

Chairperson of the Parks, Countryside & Amenities Sub-Committee, Alderman May Beattie who visited the blooming busy pupils said “The aim of the project, which has been funded by the Council’s Carrickfergus in Bloom initiative, is to brighten up the town centre this Christmas and use the horticultural talents of the Downshire School pupils.”

“Downshire pupils were a natural choice to create the floral displays due to the delivery of the subject of Horticulture which has had enormous examination success; and the interest in the Gardening Club which runs at lunch time and after school. Such examinations and clubs promote vocational opportunities for the young people and certainly their work on the planters for the Council has let them see a possible horticultural career path.”

“Carrickfergus in Bloom is a beacon of community gardening good practice, as it encourages residents to get involved, builds community spirit and improves the environment we all live in. With initiatives such as the school growing clubs, real opportunities for health, wellbeing and learning are being created.”

Principal Mrs Stewart commented on how pleased she was that the school had been given the opportunity to engage in such a civic venture and noted that the pupils now would be able to see their work on public display and would therefore take an even greater pride in their contribution to the local community. Everyone looks forward to seeing the lovely baskets adding a splash of colour to the newly refurbished town centre in the run up to Christmas.

Teachers Mrs Pauline Cowan (Downshire School) and Mr Robert Simpson (Newtownabbey Regional College) observed that doing work like this adds an extra dimension to the pupil’s experience of school and certainly provides added value to their educational experience.

Robert Stewart from Carrickfergus Traders Association thanked the school on behalf of the town centre shops benefiting from the floral displays this Christmas. He added “The Traders Association has been working in partnership with Carrickfergus Regeneration Partnership to roll out a floral scheme initiative. It is hoped that further work including community gardens within the town centre will compliment the completed public realm improvement scheme and that this will be an opportunity for more schools across the Borough to be involved”.