BEAG, Bandon Environmental Action Group, is a relatively new group to Bandon but one that has deep roots in the community. BEAG, which aims to assist in making a positive contribution to its local community on a range of issues that affect the environment, used National Tree Week last month as an opportunity to introduce itself to the wider community and tell people what kind of projects it has thus far been involved in.
As part of The Urban Tree Planting Initiative run by Trees on the Land, BEAG has already planted over 2,000 native trees around Bandon. With the help of Bandon Tidy Towns, the group identified three locations in the town suitable for planting native trees and hedging. Each location was different, so Niki Keeling from The Manch Project/Green Economy advised BEAG throughout and assisted it in coming up with an individual proposal for each site: a native hedge was planted beside the Skate Park to encourage biodiversity and foraging in this much loved public amenity; a band of native trees were planted along the bypass below the Community Hospital with full support from the HSE to provide a natural noise barrier in the years to come, improve biodiversity, create habitat and improve wellbeing for the residents at the hospital; Bandon Grammar School has also transformed a stretch of grassland into native woodland – the space will also include an orchard and a wildflower meadow.
Throughout this project BEAG has always had the help and support of local groups; in particular the Tidy Towns group but other local groups also helped out: Bandon Allotments, Bike Friendly Bandon, Bandon Sustainable Energy Communities, Creative Bandon and Sustainable Bandon to name but a few.
Bernie Connolly, Cork Environmental Forum Development Coordinator acommneted that “Groups such as BEAG are not only making a difference by taking valuable action through this impressive tree planting initiative but are creating the collaboration necessary in all communities to help address the environmental crisis.”
To mark the occasion of National Tree Week in March, BEAG invited local public representatives Bernie Connolly, Gillian Coughlan and Sean O’Donovan to plant a tree. Cllr Coughlan was delighted to support the initiative: “Beag may be the Irish word for small but the energy, activism and ambition of this group is immense. As we celebrate National Tree Week, I thank and commend Bandon Environmental Action Group for their commitment to the planting of trees at various locations around Bandon. The beauty of trees has long been celebrated in poetry and song but with natural attrition and removal of hedgerows and woods, this beauty was slowly disappearing from the landscape. Now, we can be assured of a rich legacy of improved air quality, as trees soak up carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, as well as providing improved habitats for our birds and wildlife and bees. The biodiversity of the Bandon area, long a renowned wooded river valley will slowly improve. This is a worthy endeavour indeed and I am very pleased to support the Bandon Environmental Action Group I any way that I can.”
BEAG would like to remind West Cork People readers that you can still take action to mark National Tree Week. “We can give back to nature by planting a tree, a native tree preferably. It’s one of the easiest but greatest actions you can take to help our planet. Not only do trees create a wonderful environment for us, trees are an investment for future generations, they prevent flooding and soil erosion, create habitat, improve biodiversity, improve air quality, create natural weather barriers and improve wellbeing.
“Did you know that planting an oak tree can have a huge impact on the environment, by providing a stable habitat for countless species? They are easy to grow, will grow in most locations and can live for 250-300 years. Plant a Rowan tree in your garden, or plant a Hawthorn hedge, these will provide food and refuge for birds and will be a welcome sight in your garden. Protect and maintain hedgerows, as they provide vital habitat for our local wildlife.”
BEAG members are Gef Dickson (Chairperson), Wendy (Secretary), Donal O’Riordan (Treasurer) and Anna Roycroft (Communications Officer). If you would you like to become a member of BEAG and get involved in a variety of projects follow them on Facebook @Bandon Environmental Action Group, or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.