The Woodland League

“Forest In A Box”

Native Trees Grown From Seed By Kids In National Schools

Let Us Together Weave A Native Woodland Web Across The Land

Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Glen Hansard shares his heart felt support for the project

Forest in a Box – Native Trees for Schools Project

It is all about getting kids to connect with nature, learning why native forests are the life support system for this planet so important for the environment and biodiversity. The schools get a wooden copy nature tree seed “Forest in a Box” with a “Know Your Native Trees” class room lesson. The children put the leaf mould mix Inside the box to make a natural forest floor habitat. We supply the native tree seeds, acorns and hazels mostly, sometimes the kids collect their own seeds, then every child gets to make a wish, sing a song and plant the seed into the box wishing the tree a good life. It is a very simple yet powerful act of communion with the natural forest, copying nature and using seed energy.

For more information please visit www.woodlangleague.org/projects 

“Forest in a Box” school visit to Gaelscoil na Laochra, Birr, 2017, with Andrew St Ledger PRO, The Woodland League and Diana Beresford Kroeger, best selling author and renowned botanist, scientist, and Ancient Woodland expert

Why we need your help

So far we have successfully delivered 28 “Forest in a Box” and “Know Your Native Trees” projects using funding from the Community Environment Fund/LA 21, by making applications to local authorities each year and hoping for the best, it is difficult for us to plan under these random constraints so in order to ramp up the project we are seeking donations so that more schools can participate in this worthwhile project..

What Swords Educate Together, school in Dublin said about their “Forest in a Box”, experience

“For the launch, The Woodland League gifted a Dunemann copy nature, native tree n the afternoon Andrew and the children set up a Woodland League gifted “Forest in a
Box” to grow native trees for local communities. Swords Educate Together N.S. is delighted and thrilled to be one of only 10 schools nationwide chosen to participate in this amazing project. The project is funded under the Local Agenda 21 funding, by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and Fingal County Council. The children have gained so much from Andrew’s follow up visit to our school (25th April 2018). 28 children from 3rd Class and 16 Green Team members listened and participated in a captivating interactive workshop on biodiversity and layers of the forest. The children especially loved handling the various types of wood that Andrew brought with him for this workshop”

Feedback From Scarriff NS “Forest In A Box” Visit

Andrew St Ledger visited 3 rd and 4 th Class in Scariff Central National School
initially on the 6th of March 2018 and came back for a follow up visit on Friday
27 th April 2018. Andrew spoke to the children about native trees and the history
of local Woodlands in the East Clare region and their impact on local culture and
history. The school were gifted a “Forest in a Box” to grow native trees for the
local community. The box replicates the forest floor where leaf litter, pine
needles, compost and soil combine to provide the optimal conditions for
growing trees from seed. The children planted some acorns and hazelnuts in the
box. The plan is for the sprouted saplings to be transplanted into soil next year
and these will eventually be planted in the local community.
On the follow up visit, the children gained a greater understanding of Woodland
biodiversity and the layers of the forest. The children especially enjoyed the
opportunity to handle a wide range of wood samples from ebony to yew and
redwood. The project was a very enjoyable and informative experience for the
children and Andrew a very knowledgeable and passionate facilitator.

Ted Cook of the Woodland League with the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed launched the “Forest in a Box” at Inchigeelagh, National School, County Cork, on April 5th 2019, with the pupils and teachers, marking 30 years participation in National Tree Week. Minister Creed, as a boy, attended this school and was delighted to be invited to participate and planted some acorns in the box.

Ted Cook of the Woodland League planting a Brian Boru oak tree at the Irish Seed Savers Association in March 2019, the oak tree was grown from a cutting of the famous 1000 year old Brian Boru oak tree in Tuamgraney, County Clare

“Restoring Ireland’s Native Forests One Tree At a Time”

Showing Children the Importance of Native Irish Woodlands With the “Know Your Native Trees” Presentation.

The tree seed incubator box under the supervision of Andrew St Ledger, PRO of the League, was then activated with the children participating, spreading the leaf litter mix, then following up by casting the native tree seeds of hazel and oak which they had collected in the nearby Raheen Ancient oak wood. Andrew said, “These children are investing in their own future in a unique way that combines the past, present and future, it is amazing that some of the acorns are from the legendary local Brian Boru oak tree, reputedly 1000 years old”.

Making Lasting Change

The box uses a copy of the natural forest floor of leaf litter to start the trees off, the sides creating shade to encourage the trees to reach for the light with fine mesh across the bottom and the top lid to protect the seeds from being eaten, so increasing their chances of survival by 90% or more. Each one metre by one metre seed box is capable of providing approximately 200 healthy native trees for planting out every two years. Ideally the seeds are collected by the school children within a ten mile radius as it is a fact that these native trees are the most adapted to the area, and therefore the most valuable in providing Ecosystem services, such as, wildlife habitat, water filtering, soil protection, flood prevention, etc.

Hope For Native Forests In The Future

The Woodland League are actively engaged in restoring the historic, Great Forest of Aughty in East Clare, South Galway, Brian Boru’s Forest. We have two “Forest in a Box” projects in two local schools who are growing trees for the project. We  hope to activate more local schools and in this way, “Forest in a Box” is the Micro part and Great Forest of Aughty is the Macro part, which can be replicated across Ireland