Hello Forest Friends,
It’s great to welcome you back! I hope you’re all enjoying being back at school and seeing your friends and teachers again. I am so happy that SPAR, who you’ll remember from last year, will be working with us again to prepare SPAR National Tree Day 2023 which takes place on Thursday, 5th October.
This year’s theme is ‘Nuts about Nature’ – ‘Fiáin chun Dúlra’. As you know, nuts are my favourite food, so I am delighted that my favourite tree – the native Hazel tree – is the one that has been chosen this year. This tree is very common in Ireland and the hazelnuts are ripe by August. So, there may be very few left on the Hazel trees near you, as us squirrels are great at gathering them as soon as they are ripe and ready to eat. We have to be quick because the field mice love them too!
Hazel trees support lots of other living things besides squirrels. Lichens grow on the bark and branches and 140 species of lichens have been counted growing on Irish hazel trees. Insects love the tree too – 73 different species were recorded on Hazel trees. It is a really good tree for biodiversity. So, this year my top tip to all of you who are Nuts about Nature is to plant Hazel trees.
To help, this year we’re giving away FREE saplings of one of my favourite trees – the native Hazel – also known as Corylus avellana or Crann Coll – for you to plant on your school grounds or in a pot in your classroom. Click here to find out how to get your FREE tree and check out our video on how to plant a tree here.
There are lots of activities that you can do with your classmates or family who are all ‘Nuts about Nature’ too. You can find out more about them here. And you can also learn about how to be more Biodiversity Aware.
You can also find colouring posters on our SPAR colouring Illustrations page if you enjoy colouring posters.
As always, if a responsible adult wishes to share your beautiful nature photos and news with us all, use the hashtag #treeday2023!
Right now, we need to support nature more than ever before so please don’t forget to take the Forest Pledge to be a lifelong friend of the environment!
And if you visit your local SPAR from 2nd to 16th October you can go ‘Nuts about Nature’ with SPAR’s in-store competition, which gives you a chance to win children’s gardening kits to practice your gardening at home. Simply scan the QR code!
So, get (hazelnut) cracking on planting your tree and don’t forget to say ‘Hi’ if you see me while you’re out and about enjoying a nature walk!