Wicklow tree planting puts down roots for lasting impact

A 2021 Nicholas O’Dwyer World Environment Day tree-planting initiative has seen the company plant 240 trees (and counting) in Ireland as part of the Nicholas O’Dwyer forest.

Spanning 15 acres of land in County Wicklow, the forest forms part of the Wolfgang Reforest. The initiative, to support #GenerationRestoration, aims to restore biodiversity and halt climate change by planting native Irish trees.

Based in Ireland, Nicholas O’Dwyer is a professional services firm working in the water, transportation and energy sectors, delivering engineering, project management, environmental and planning services.

Nicholas O’Dwyer Senior Environmental Consultant Robbie Clarke said that knowing the benefits trees have for people and communities was the driving force behind getting involved with the Wolfgang Reforest movement.

“Not only do trees improve soil and water conservation but also they store carbon, moderate local climate and air temperature and contribute to the preservation and restoration of biodiversity. Being among trees has also been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety and improve wellbeing.

“During the first phase of the project, we planted 80 trees before planting a further 80 in March 2023.”

Late last year, representatives from Nicholas O’Dwyer returned to Wolfgang Forest, where the company has planted a total of 240 native Irish trees, exceeding its target of planting one for every permanent staff member by 2024.

Robbie added that the company believes that planting native trees is the best way to regreen Ireland and revitalise its wildlife.

“Through the strategic planting of trees, we aim to contribute to carbon sequestration, aiding in the global effort to mitigate climate change. Simultaneously, the diverse range of native Irish trees planted, including alder, wild cherry, spindle and hazel, is expected to enhance local biodiversity, which we hope will one day result in a thriving ecosystem.

“Each tree that reaches maturity in our forest is expected to lock in five tonnes of CO₂ during its lifetime. Nicholas O’Dwyer will have offset approximately 1200 tonnes of carbon over the lifetime of the trees that have been planted.”

Robbie said the initiative was embraced by colleagues, with many quickly volunteering to take part.

“The team’s positive response reflects a shared interest in environmental sustainability and a real desire to make a meaningful impact. The initiative has also been a fantastic opportunity for people who don’t usually work together to get to know one another.”

Wolfgang Reforest Director Katie McDermott said: “We’ve had great fun meeting the Nicholas O’Dwyer team down in Wicklow over the last couple of years, and we’re delighted we share the same mission: to reduce climate change, revitalise wildlife and, most of all, reforest Ireland! It’s been a pleasure to facilitate its tree-planting initiative, and we hope to continue the partnership far into the future!”

The Nicholas O’Dwyer forest forms one part of the business’s larger sustainability efforts, with Operations Director Ciarán Duignan hailing its sustainability committee for all it has achieved so far.

“Our sustainability committee ensures everyone stays informed through its monthly sustainability bulletin, which features the latest committee updates, valuable knowledge and practical green tips for daily life.

“A cornerstone of our efforts is the Climate Fresk workshop – an immersive experience delving into the intricacies of climate change. We’ve successfully held five sessions for our employees, with plans for more in the future. In this three-hour workshop, participants collaboratively piece together the climate change puzzle, fostering meaningful discussions on actionable steps to reduce carbon emissions.

“Renowned worldwide with over 1.3 million participants, the Climate Fresk serves as a powerful tool, empowering every employee to reflect on their impact and take meaningful action. “As a business, we’re committed to spearheading initiatives that propel us towards a greener and more sustainable future, both within our teams and on projects.”

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