Case Studies on Action Planning: Establishment of a 5 acre Native Woodland in Letterfrack, Co. Galway
Collaborators: GMIT Letterfrack, Connemara West, Connemara National Park and the local community.
In 2013 the Green Campus Committee of GMIT Letterfrack initiated in collaboration with Connemara National Park to establish 5 acres of Native Woodland. With support from ‘One Million Trees in a Day’ and the Department of Agriculture Native Woodland grant, over 3,000 saplings were planted in the grounds of Connemara National Park by students and staff of GMIT, Connemara West, Connemara National Park, Green Belt and community members. A number of additional plantings took place over the following two years to restock the woodland with continuous maintenance to help the tress get established. The species planted include Alder, birch, whitethorn, guilder rose, holly, pendunculate oak and scots pine. The site will be of huge importance in supporting biodiversity in the area, will play its role in carbon sequestration and will also act as a learning environment for students and the wider community.
The official opening of the Native Woodland took place in September 2015.
In the coming years GMIT Letterfrack will develop resources to ensure that the potential of the woodland is maximised from an educational perspective. Ireland imports approximately 95% of the hardwoods consumed each year and this project will help students of GMIT Letterfrack, who specialise in the use and manipulation of wood in furniture design and technology projects, to understand how trees and forests develop and how long it takes for trees to mature. It is hoped that thinings, and later mature timber, from the woodland can be extracted to demonstrate how sustainable forestry can work in local environments in support of local communities.