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The Digital Hub’s Pocket Forest partnership an urban tree nursery first

Catherine Cleary, Pocket Forests, Caroline Viguier, The Digital Hub, and Ashe Conrad-Jones, Pocket Forests. Picture by Shane O'Neill, Coalesce.

Over 600 native Irish trees including birch, rowan, and alder will be planted in the city location



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29 July 2021

The Digital Hub has installed the Pocket Forests Tree Hub in its Dublin 8 campus. Created in partnership with Pocket Forests, The Tree Hub is Ireland’s first native tree nursery in a city centre location.

The nursery, which will see the planting of native Irish trees such as birch, rowan, and alder, will serve as a distribution point for the planting of further trees around the Dublin 8 and greater Dublin area. Over 600 trees will be planted in the coming months.

Establishing the Tree Hub nursery for these native trees in an urban setting is the first initiative of its kind in Ireland and will improve the natural environment of Dublin 8. Several parts of the area have been found to have low or below average tree density according to Mapping Green Dublin, an initiative between University College Dublin and Dublin 8 community groups.

The importance of access to nature and green spaces has been further highlighted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with recent research from the Environmental Protection Agency in February this year showing that 84% of people said they felt access to nature was important for their physical and mental health.

Pocket Forests was set up in 2020 by event manager Ashe Conrad-Jones and journalist and author Catherine Cleary with the goal of improving biodiversity in urban areas. The idea is adapted from the Tiny Forest concept. Pocket Forests use permaculture methods to regenerate depleted soil and plant a diverse range of native trees and shrubs to recreate a forest in pockets of land as small as six square metres.

In addition to the native tree nursery Pocket Forests have also installed Dublin 8’s first pocket forest in The Digital Hub campus. This forest, located in a reconditioned skip donated to Pocket Forests by Thorntons Recycling, will promote biodiversity and pollination, and includes native plants such as birch, rowan, spindle and guelder rose.

Fiach Mac Conghail, CEO at The Digital Hub, said: “The Digital Hub has long had a commitment to enhancing Dublin 8 as a place to live and work. Biodiversity, green spaces and nature are important factors for health and wellbeing, and the installation of this nursery will have a lasting, positive impact on this community for many years to come. I would like to thank Catherine and Ashe for partnering with The Digital Hub on this project and encouraging us all to commit to a more sustainable living and working environment.”

“Dublin 8 is an area which suffers from a low density of trees, and the ability to experience nature and green space for our health and wellbeing has come to the fore throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Ashe Conrad-Jones, co-founder of Pocket Forests. “The Digital Hub is an ideal location for Ireland’s first native tree nursery in an urban setting, and it will serve as a springboard to encourage pockets of native forest creation in areas around Dublin 8 and beyond. We are looking forward to the work and learning we can do with local groups and schools in our efforts to green more areas of Dublin.”

Pocket Forest will run a series of six half-day workshops at The Digital Hub to educate people on the benefits of biodiversity, pollination, compost, soil health and the importance of healthy forest ecosystems in urban areas. There will also be monthly, informal community coffee mornings. For more information, look out for Pocket Forests and The Digital Hub on social media.

This partnership is the latest in The Digital Hub’s efforts to foster sustainable activities in Dublin 8. The campus is host to six beehives in partnership with the Robert Emmet Community Development Project’s Inner-City Bee Keeping Project. The Digital Hub also operates solar PV panels on a campus building to provide clean renewable energy to the campus, and is a lead partner on Smart D8, an initiative to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens through collaboration and innovation.

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