AN ALL-ISLAND biodiversity coalition – Bugs, Bees and Native Trees – recently gifted and planted 10 native trees at South West College’s (SWC) brand-new Erne Campus as part of an all-Ireland initiative to help fight climate change.

Representatives of Bugs, Bees and Native Trees held a special planting ceremony at the campus on Friday, April 23 – its first to take place in Northern Ireland.

It was carried out to align with the college’s sustainability strategy, that is is guided by the One Planet Living principles. SWC is the first Further Education College to adopt the One Planet Living approach in the UK and Ireland.

Bugs, Bees and Native Trees is a recently formed all-island climate action group set up to help improve biodiversity, our natural environment and mitigate against the human-influenced effects of climate change.

The project specifically hopes to encourage young people across the island of Ireland to address issues of the environment, and biodiversity together and in a practical way through tree planting and other national environmental projects.

Two green beech, two hornbeam, two oak, two birch and two rowan trees were planted at the site as part of the special tree planting event.

The project uses native trees because of their ability to thrive in the area, including being accustomed to the climate, the soil, and the level of rainfall received each year.

The trees will help to sustain the lives of birds, bees and insects, support the food web, and will assist the college in managing the impact of its carbon footprint, waste and energy use.

Professor Ronan Mullan, a senior committee member of the Bugs, Bee and Native Trees project team said: “We are delighted to be here in Enniskillen and working in partnership with SWC.

“Our mission is to improve biodiversity in Ireland, to do our part to improve the environment, particularly where we work and study.

Michael McAlister, Chief Executive of SWC, said: “I am pleased to support this wonderful initiative and am honoured that SWC, and specifically the Erne Campus, has been chosen as the first planting site in Northern Ireland.

“The natural environment plays a vital role in the life of our college and these trees which have been planted here will serve as an important reminder of the role and responsibilities that each of us hold in managing our carbon footprint and our impact on the natural world.”