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Rotarians dig deep for World Earth Day

World Earth DayHenry Robinson, President of The Rotary Club of Enniskillen is pictured with Brian Murphy, CEO of BALCAS and Viscount Brookeborough on World Earth Day

Today saw the 2,000th tree planted in a new Rotary Plantation in Colebrooke Estate Co. Fermanagh to celebrate World Earth Day which took place on the 22nd April 2018.

The initiative is in response to a global target set by Rotary International President Ian Riseley, challenging each of the 1.2million Rotary members world-wide, to plant at least one tree to transform ailing forests and boost beautiful green spaces.

Irish Rotarians have risen to the challenge with the 2,000 trees representing each Rotarian member in Ireland, which have been donated and planted by Colebrooke Estate on behalf of Rotarians from all over the island of Ireland.

The project has also raised £2,900 from Rotarians who pledged money towards the project, and thanks to Colebrooke Estate for donating the trees, this money can now go towards the to End Polio Now campaign which when enhanced by the Gates foundation will realise over £8,700 for the eradication of polio.

The 2,000th tree was planted by The Rotary Club of Enniskillen, in partnership with Colebrooke Estate and BALCAS who have joined together to achieve this target on behalf of Rotarians throughout Rotary Ireland.

Henry Robinson, President of The Rotary Club of Enniskillen said: “We are over the moon that Rotary Ireland has met our International President’s goal and planted one tree for each Rotary member in Ireland and raised such a fantastic sum for our ongoing pledge to End Polio Now. Our fellow International Rotarians who have also risen to the challenge, planting over 1.2 million new trees across the globe.

“Our planet is losing 15 billion trees each year. Trees are vital to life. They give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and allow wildlife to exist…and without them, human beings simply wouldn’t survive.

“Trees also provide food, energy and income, helping communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability. They also filter the air and help reverse the impacts of climate change. In just one year, a mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen as 10 people inhale.”

“I would like to thank clubs across Ireland for getting behind this project to make such a positive impact on our local environment and for pledging such a fantastic amount of money towards End Polio Now.

“Rotary’s key humanitarian priority is to rid the world of polio. Failure to eradicate polio could result in as many as 200,000 new cases worldwide every year within a decade, so this money, alongside the match-funding from the Gates Foundation will go towards vaccines and further research into the prevention of the disease.

“I would also like to extend our sincere thanks to BALCAS for finding and securing the local land allowing this project to be viable and for sponsoring the information signage at the Plantation. Our thanks also go to Viscount Brookeborough for allowing the new Rotary Plantation to be sited on the beautiful land of Colebrooke Estate.”

BALCAS, located in Fermanagh, is one of Britain and Ireland’s largest sawmills. They are a leading timber products supplier and have pioneered biomass renewable energy in the British Isles.

 Brian Murphy, CEO of BALCAS said: “We at BALCAS are delighted to be involved in this imaginative and very worthwhile initiative.

“Wood is at the heart of what we do. We use timber only from sustainably managed forests and for every tree we use, we plant four more, this equates to approximately 15 million new trees per annum.

“To see local Rotarians, volunteer their time to plant more trees with the sole objective of bettering our environment is both humbling and inspiring.”

Brian concluded: “We were delighted to be able to forge the link between the Colebrooke Estate and Rotary Ireland to allow this project to grow.”

Colebrooke Estate has been in the Brooke family for over 350 years. It is home of Viscount and Viscountess Brookeborough and spans over 1,000 acres of land.

Speaking about the initiative, Viscount Brookborough said: “We are extremely proud to partner with Rotary Ireland and BALCAS to see this wonderful project come to fruition.

“For thousands of years ‘softwood’ has been used for construction, sadly 90 per cent of which is imported.

“This new Tree Plantation will be harvested in 40 years’ time our sustainable timber production includes equal acreages of native hardwoods and commercial softwoods, such as these spruce trees.

“Soft woods are a renewable source and we are proud of their essential contribution in our everyday lives from making pencils to quite literally putting a roof over our heads.”

Viscount Brookeborough concluded: “I would like to thank both Rotary and BALCAS for including Colebrooke in this initiative and to welcome the public to Colebrooke Estate to enjoy the new Plantation.”

The public are encouraged to view the plantation which can be accessed from main A4 Belfast to Enniskillen Road near Brookeborough. Take the turn off for Colebrooke Church of Ireland (Post Code: BT94 4DU) and the Information Board will be visible at the junction before the church.

To learn more about Rotary Ireland visit www.rotary.ie