Phoenix Natural Gas is helping two Newtownards schools plant seeds of the future in a new partnership project with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.
The Learning About Forests Programme (LEAF) is an international programme, run by the Foundation of Environmental Education and delivered in 28 countries, engaging 700,000 students worldwide. LEAF, which is delivered by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful in Northern Ireland, advocates outdoor learning and hand-on experiences which result in pupils getting a deeper understanding of the natural world.
Aimed at increasing young people’s awareness of the role that forests play in sustaining life on the planet, the pilot LEAF Programme will be delivered at St Finian’s Primary School and Londonderry Primary School in Newtownards, culminating in a tree planting day that will see both schools come together to share their knowledge.
As well as providing an opportunity for environmental education, the new trees planted at the end of the session will result in increased biodiversity for both schools providing a habitat for more than 257 species of insects which are a food source for birds and other small animals.
Launching the initiative Michael McKinstry, Chief Executive at Phoenix Natural Gas said: "We are delighted to establish this new partnership with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful which will help evolve the Eco-Schools programme and continue to inspire young people to care for the environment and learn how to protect it while leaving a lasting legacy through the on-site tree planting.
“Environmental responsibility is a key focus for us as a business, not least because natural gas is a fuel with inherent environmental benefits providing consumers with an energy source that is up to 50% less carbon polluting than other fuel alternatives, but also because we want to deliver real benefit to the communities we serve.”
Carol Forster, Head of Operations from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said: “Initiatives like LEAF delivered through our wider Eco-Schools programme are making a real and tangible difference in helping young people understand the environment that surrounds them and the role that tree planting plays for sustainable life on our planet.
“Northern Ireland is the least wooded area in the UK. I very much welcome this collaboration with Phoenix Gas as tree planting initiatives like this are important to address the current climate action agenda, positively contributing to carbon emissions reduction in Northern Ireland. We need to support more projects like this, engaging young people through the Eco-Schools programme and more widely with local communities through the Live Here Love Here programme”
Full details on the Phoenix Natural Gas Responsible Business Programme can be found at: www.phoenixnaturalgas.com/about-us/phoenix-group/corporate-responsibility.
Further details on the Eco-Schools programme is available at www.eco-schoolsni.org.