Run to Plant Trees

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COMPLETED: 232 KM RAN AND 586 NATIVE AND INDIGENOUS IRISH TREES PLANTED WITH HOMETREE CHARITY

Run to Plant Trees is a cause and a call for climate action created by Baiba Šustere, yoga and meditation teacher, an avid runner and nature lover, who is based in Galway, Ireland.

Run to Plant Trees was a year-long fundraiser during which Baiba ran 2 half marathons, 3 marathons and 1 ultra marathon, altogether 232 km. The aim was to raise funds to plant native and indigenous Irish trees on the West Coast of Ireland with Hometree Charity. Baiba also created a platform which informs about the importance of trees, forests and biodiversity, and how it relates to local communities and climate crises. To achieve it Baiba not only ran 6 races along the West Coast of Ireland, but also organised fundraising events accessible to everyone in community. Run to Plant Trees created a platform to talk about current climate crises, importance of individual and systematic changes, about the beauty of our nature, and how important it is to respect and preserve it.

With Run to Plant Trees Baiba hopes that she brought this attitude of encouragement, strength and persistence into action, and encouraged each of you to do something you thought you will never achieve.

You are a part of nature. Stay kind, run and plant some trees.

Hometree

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Our work is to establish and conserve permanent native woodland in Ireland, encouraging land regeneration and biodiversity through afforestation, restoration and education.

Ireland was once a land of forests. At one time, up to 80% of the country was covered in native wildwood. Irish culture still contains echoes of this, in Ireland’s ‘tree alphabet’ – the ancient Ogham script – in the Gaelic names for common trees, folklore, and song.

Yet today, Ireland is the most deforested country in Europe. Just over 1% of that original forest cover remains. Hometree is changing this. Our vision is the restoration of Ireland’s ancient wildwood. Through conservation, afforestation and education, we aim to create a landscape in which people and forests flourish, together.

Hometree began in a small community garden project in winter 2015, where we saw how important it was for people to connect with nature. Five years on, hometree has planted over 30,000 pioneer trees like scots pine, willow and alder, while hundreds of people have contributed time and resources to the vision of incorporating more trees into the Irish landscape, bringing all the benefits that woodlands create.

Our current fundraising comes from partnerships, people and businesses who share and wish to support Hometree’s goals and those who are curious to educate themselves and connect to their sense of stewardship for the natural world. We’ve worked with over 50 businesses, from small startups to multinational organisations like Medtronic, the global leader in medical technology.

What began as a tree-planting charity is growing into a project which endeavours to deeply connect people with nature, and facilitates a wide variety of projects that are fundamental to addressing both Ireland’s declining biodiversity and the unfolding climate challenge.


Three Branches of Hometree

Reforestation Nation

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Our mission is simple, plant trees, absorb CO2, transform our environment, increase biodiversity, and help educate people on why restoring nature is essential for all of us.

Ireland, was once the most forested country in Europe, over thousands of years of deforestation our forests where reduced to just 1% by the 1920’s. Since then our forest cover has increased to 11% still lower than any other country in Europe. This eleven-fold increase, however, is quite misleading, as only 2% of Ireland is actually covered in native Irish trees, the other 9% is non native conifer plantations. These mono-cultures provide very little habitat for our native wildlife as they spent millions of year evolving in a different ecosystem the other side of the planet.

We are a local Irish social enterprise with the purpose of helping restore the lost biodiversity of our local environment through the planting of native trees while helping people across Ireland and the world become carbon neutral. We will first plant ten thousand trees, once we have achieved this we will set a new goal to plant even more trees. Through the planting of these trees, 10 million kilograms of CO2 will be absorbed from the atmosphere helping Ireland achieve its climate change targets faster. These trees will provide nesting material, shelter and food for Ireland’s declining bird population. They will also act as cover for mammals like hedgehogs and badgers to allow them to wander the countryside undisturbed. Finally, they will also provide nectar for butterflies and bees, 30% of which could go extinct in the next ten years, if we don’t offer them a helping hand.

We can not do this alone. We will be partnering with land owners to plant trees on unused land and along field margins. We will be also be reaching out to the people and the businesses of Ireland to help achieve our goal of biodiversity and a better environment for us all to live in!

The Woodland League

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The Woodland League is a not-for-profit, independent, community-based, non-denominational and non-political organisation. Our aim is to restore the relationship between people and their native woodlands.

We support the philosophy underpinning Agenda 21, the blueprint for a sustainable future agreed by 176 nations at Rio De Janero in 1992. This concept calls for the balancing of man-made systems and natural eco-systems. We are also guided by the Brehon law system of Ireland, which along with other ancient & indigenous people’s systems are the projenitors of this new wave of ecological thinking. The outdated model of development, which is still being followed, can not deliver a sustainable future for this planet. Agenda 21 provides a framework to create new models for sustainable development sorely needed at this juncture in time.

The Convention on Biological Diversity 1993, to which Ireland is a signatory, states that native forests must be granted highest priority for protection, conservation and enhancement. All stability in nature, of soil, air and water is conferred by native trees. The native trees of any place are nature’s highest achievement in the plant kingdom.

We are helping communities become aware of their rights and entitlements under Agenda 21, to clean air, soil and water via increased native woodlands. We hold walks and talks throughout the country promoting native woodland heritage and actively lobby to change Irish forestry policy.

Chieftain Trees

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Our vision is to see the Earth wild again.

In ancient Ireland trees were held sacred by the people. Native forests of oak, ash, elm, birch, pine, alder and hazel trees flourished across Ireland’s landscape. The chieftain trees were the most revered and it was a crime to cut them down. By 1900, less than one percent of these woodlands remained. We want to see them return and create sustainable and long term ecosystems for wildlife. 

We fundamentally believe that more heads are better than one. We aim to create a community of diverse thinkers, collaborating to find creative solutions to environmental issues and restoring the earth.  

The first step in building towards this vision is simple, get people planting trees. We aim to inspire tree planting locally but also connect with landowners who are happy to donate their land to wilding projects. We are also looking to promote sustainable and ethical businesses that share our values.

Gaelic Woodland Project

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The Gaelic Woodland Project is raising money through the International Irish Community to buy land in Westmeath to afforest; this new woodland will be planted with the Native Woodland Scheme Grant, filled with native flora, and dedicated to Ireland’s scattered generations.

Our approach will tackle Ireland’s carbon emission deficit by increasing carbon sequestering in new broadleaf forestry; our wilderness strategy will help native wildlife by linking old-growth vegetation in the area with green corridors, exponentially increasing biodiversity and habitat.  

We will offer the Diaspora a piece of their ancestral land; it will be a living memorial to the struggles and triumphs of their families and be the beacon that welcomes home their children for generations to come.

We hope to collect thus far unrecorded family stories in our Irish Immrama Archive and name the woodland after an Irish Immigrant. QR codes will be placed at certain trees so visitors can rest and read their stories. 

The central woodland will be the flagship in our operation; a commemorative standing stone will be placed at its center in 2045, on the 200-year anniversary of the Great Famine. 

We will simultaneously promote and share Irish tales, language, music, lore, crafts and encourage nationwide rewilding as we manifest the idea of a green and wild Ireland that is often imagined but rarely experienced.