Trees for schools

Over 450 Northern Ireland schools applied for a tree as part of the NIO’s Trees for Schools initiative. Earlier in 2021, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis announced the major scheme, which saw all local schools offered a native tree for planting this autumn. Hundreds of schools have chosen their preferred tree, from a range including alder, birch, crab apple, ornamental cherry, rowan and oak.

The trees were supplied by Portadown based Craigmore Trees, with cherry and crab apple trees having proven to be the most popular choices. Delivery began in October 2021, with all schools receiving their tree by the end of the year. Every school also received a special plaque marking each tree’s significance and acting as a reminder for future generations of this significant year for the people of Northern Ireland.

The Trees for Schools initiative was held in the year in which the UK Government hosted COP 26. In November 2021, while many schools were planting their special trees, world leaders met in Glasgow to work together to tackle climate change and help protect the earth for future generations.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said: 

“Our Trees for Schools initiative fulfills our promise of building back greener across the United Kingdom and, in addition to marking the Centenary, leaves a positive environmental legacy for the people of Northern Ireland."

"This is a great opportunity with over one thousand trees offered to every school in Northern Ireland to mark this significant year for Northern Ireland and the whole of the UK.”

“I would like to thank Craigmore Trees for delivering this important project for the benefit of Northern Ireland’s schoolchildren and generations to come.”

Owner of Craigmore Trees Mark Wilson, whose Co Armagh tree nursery has been in business for 20 years, said: 

“I am proud that Craigmore Trees has been chosen to supply Centenary trees for Northern Ireland schools."

“Initiatives like this help to teach children how to care for plants and the environment, benefitting the planet and sowing positive seeds for the future.”

Principal of Bangor Central Integrated Primary Peter Campbell said:

"I think that the NIO's Trees for Schools initiative is a great way to mark the Centenary year and a practical way to teach our children how to look after the environment. I look forward to planting our tree with our pupils later this year."

All schools were encouraged to submit a video of their special tree planting moment for use on the NIO’s social media channels.