Make your mark in the Belfast Hills!

The Belfast Hills Partnership needs more volunteers to help with projects in 2017. INNT 51-834CON
The Belfast Hills Partnership needs more volunteers to help with projects in 2017. INNT 51-834CON

Want to make a difference in 2017? Make your mark to help local wildlife? Perhaps get a bit fitter in the process? The Belfast Hills Partnership needs volunteers to help plant 13,500 trees and hedging plants before the end of March 2017!

Tree planting is vital, as they not only generate oxygen and store carbon, but provide homes and food to a huge range of wildlife. The trees being planted this season are part of our industrial renovation project and so are being planted primarily in quarry and landfill sites throughout the Belfast Hills. Our trees will help restore these industrial sites to a more natural state.

Hedges provide safe ‘wildlife corridors’ for bugs and beasties to travel through from one habitat area to another. They are also an essential food source for birds and small mammals as well as pollinators and other insects. Our new hedges are designed to link existing areas of hedging and trees providing greater connectivity for wildlife.

It is our mission, with your help, to plant as many trees and hedgerows as possible in the Hills.

Belfast Hills Partnership Volunteer Officer, Lisa Critchley, said the planting tasks are a great opportunity for anyone who enjoys being outdoors: “Tree and hedge planting is one of the most enjoyable volunteer tasks. You can see the impact you have made and will be able to say ‘I planted that’. Generations of people (and wildlife!) will enjoy your hard work for years to come. The visual effect in the hills will be extensive, especially in the industrial sites. The role is very rewarding and anyone can enjoy it! All you need is warm layers, good boots and a big grin.”

Volunteer, Áine McGrath, said: “I am new to the Belfast Hills volunteer group and already feel part of the team. They are all very welcoming and friendly and I have a great laugh whilst working away on the tasks. I consider the other volunteers to be friends now, in a very short space of time (they’re superb people!). ”

The project is part of the Belfast Hills Landscape Partnership Scheme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Woodland Trusts MOREwoods scheme.

The planting will take place on weekday mornings from 10:30am-1pm. The planting will be on private land and quarry sites across the Belfast Hills, from Slievenacloy to Carnmoney.

To find out more and register your interest, contact Lisa at the Belfast Hills Partnership on 02890 603 466 or email lisa.critchley@belfasthills.org