Mary Norton and Philippa Barry taking part in the 100 million Trees project in Athlone Business & Technology Park, where 2,500 native trees were planted by volunteers from IDA Ireland. Photo: Aengus McMahon Photography.

Staff plant 2,500 trees at Athlone IDA Business Park

A small dense forest was recently planted at the IDA Business & Technology Park in Athlone as part of an environmental initiative undertaken by IDA Ireland and the 100 Million Trees Project.

Around 40 IDA Ireland staff planted 2,500 native Irish trees and shrubs on an unused plot, which was formerly the site of a workers' compound, next to the business park in Garrycastle.

The 100 Million Trees initiative aims to plant this number of native Irish trees across the island of Ireland by the end of the decade.

Catriona Taylor, senior horticulturist with the 100 Million Trees initiative said the planting of the small forest on the Athlone site "will be a perfect example of turning an empty, stony compound into a beautiful area of biodiversity with a little will and determination.”

The IDA Ireland volunteer team which planted 2,500 native Irish trees in a previously unused plot next to the IDA Business and Technology Park in Athlone. Photo: Aengus McMahon Photography.

The initiative follows the 'Miyawaki Method' of planting, where a small plot of land is densely planted with an excessive number of trees together, which then grow considerably faster, denser, are more biodiverse, and most importantly create a rapid carbon sink, according to those behind the project.

An additional benefit of dense planting is that the project requires significantly smaller planting areas, and can be carried out on unused or fallow land across Ireland.

Speaking of the initiative, IDA Ireland’s Head of Property Sarah O’Connell said: "As part of our commitment to biodiversity and sustainability, the collaboration with the 100 Million Trees Project marks a significant step forward for IDA's delivery of sustainable initiatives in Athlone Business & Technology Park and across the portfolio."

She added that IDA Ireland was "exploring opportunities to potentially expand this initiative" and was looking to identify other suitable lands for similar tree-planting projects.

The community-driven 100 Million Trees initiative has already seen native Irish trees planted in 62 sites across the country, with 161,180 planted since last November.

A video of the IDA Ireland and 100 Million Trees project in Athlone can be viewed here: