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 2022 which takes place on Thursday, 6th October.

This year’s theme ‘Root for Nature’ – ‘Tacaigh le nádúr’ – has a double meaning. We are calling on you to get involved in helping the environment but also to learn about the complex root system under the tree. Intertwined with the roots of the tree is a fascinating microscopic network of fungus known as “The Woodwide Web” that allows trees to communicate and connect to other trees, plants and animals. You’ll find out more here.

One of the cleverest things that trees do is to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen and help us to fight climate change. So, this year my top tip to root for nature is to plant more trees!

To help, this year we’re giving away FREE saplings of one of my favourite Irish native trees – the Native Holly Tree– also known as Ilex aquifolium or Crann Cuilinn – for you to plant on your school grounds or in a pot in your classroom. The Holly Tree is a fantastic neighbour and friend to birds who love to feast on the cherries that appear each autumn! Click here to find out how to get your FREE tree and check out our video on how to plant a tree here.

This year, we are delighted to team up with award-winning Irish illustrator Fatti Burke, who has created an original illustration celebrating Ireland’s native trees, flora and fauna for you to colour in as a class and create a tree-mendous artwork! Download it here.

You are also invited to take part in the SPAR National Tree Day Colouring Competition by picking up a Fatti Burke illustrated colouring sheet in any SPAR store nationwide or by downloading it here. To enter the competition, children can upload a photo of their completed colouring sheet here

There are lots of activities that you can do with your classmates or family to ‘Root for Nature’, find out more about them here. And you can also learn about the plants, animals and wildlife that live under the trees and the different flowers you can plant to support bees and wildlife, here.

Right now, we need to root for nature more than ever before so please don’t forget to take the Forest Pledge to be a lifelong friend of the environment!

So get (nut) 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!

Sinsquirrelly yours