Creggan Park award is just 'Tree-mendous'

Creggan Park award is just 'Tree-mendous'

Creggan Country Park's Helen Beatty accepts the RFS award. Also pictured, from left, are Malcolm Beatty, EIF Awards judge; James Hamilton Stubber, NI RFS chair and sponsor John McNee, Forestry Journal

Creggan Country Park received a 'tree-mendous' boost this week after received a top environmental award.

The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) have bestowed upon the Park the RFS Education & Learning Excellence Award which recognises those who increase awareness, understanding and skills related to the environment – especially within forestry and the link between trees and wood products.

Creggan Country Park has, since its set-up back in February 1997, has provided non-profit activities for more than 25,000 visitors a year – activities that also include the park's environmental programme that has been recognised by the RFS with this award.

Judges saw how a disused basketball court, which was host to antisocial behaviour, was transformed into a thriving nature hub for the local community to use.

The Nature Hub now consists of an outdoor classroom, pond dipping and bug hunt area, playground games, hedgerow maze, woodland walk, planted pedal boats, giant willow raven and hedgehog sculptures.

The newest addition to the hub is The Lorax Storybook Trail.

Funded by The Department for Communities and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, visitors locate 20 panels along the woodland walk, read the Lorax story as they walk and then solve the word puzzle using the QR codes on each panel.

RFS Judges said: “The project is highly commended for the enthusiasm and passion of its staff and the level of involvement with the surrounding community.”

A delighted Karen Healy, Environmental Officer for Creggan Country Park, said "We are absolutely delighted to receive the certificate of merit in the education and learning category for our environmental education programme 'Nature's Classroom'. “We want to dedicate this certificate to all our partners, funders, teachers and students who have helped our programme grow over the years.”

The new storybook trail is now free to use and open to early years groups and primary schools as part of our environmental education programme 'Nature's Classroom'.

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