29 October 2019
By Bryan Smyth
One of Ireland’s biggest garden centres is on a mission to drive primary school pupils across Cork city and county absolutely wild.
CountryLife Garden Centres want to educate the nation about wild bird conservation through its exciting and engaging new Operation WildNation initiative. Ultimately they’re helping to protect some of our under threat wild bird species – among these thrushes and finches – during the tough autumn and winter months.
The group, which has 14 CountryLife Garden Centre outlets across the country along with an online gardening website www.countrylife.ie, has teamed up with renowned environmentalist, author and broadcaster, Éanna Ni Lamhna. In Cork, CountryLife has a store in Castlelyons.
The fun initiative, which is already gathering momentum, aims to engage thousands of primary school children country-wide on the importance of looking after nature’s wildlife.
The campaign includes an exciting Operation WildNation colouring competition focusing on children from first to third class with templates and full competition details available now on www.countrylife.ie/colourmewild.
The winning child or school will receive an interactive talk with Éanna and an expert horticulturalist from their local CountryLife Garden Centre. The prize also includes a fun peanut butter and seed roll-making session as well as vouchers, a wild bird survival kit for the school and more.
Éanna Ni Lamhna said young people are the best possible people to educate their parents and the wider community about the importance of wildlife and wild bird conservation. “Children are the ones leading the charge on climate change and protecting our environment.
“Anyone with a garden can get great enjoyment and fun out of watching out for wild birds. If there are berries in your garden, if there’s ivy on your walls, if you’ve prickly hedges or if you introduce bird boxes, some bird seed and invest in a good wild bird book and a pair of binoculars there’s endless pleasure to be had.
“It’s fun, its where lifelong memories are made and it requires focus – you can’t press pause or rewind if you miss that robin or goldfinch. But it’s so worthwhile. I’m delighted to be championing Operation WildNation and getting out and meeting children and visiting schools,” she said.
CountryLife Garden Centre’s Jess Kelly said: “It’s never been more important to care for our native wild birds, so we’re really thrilled to launch this campaign with a focus on educating the children of Ireland, who can so often become the conduit for great progress in this space.
“Following on from our Operation PolliNation initiative earlier in the year, we’re excited to continue to support our customers with the right information and product options, such as berry trees and bird feed, in order to make their garden a wild bird friendly environment.”
CountryLife Garden Centres are intent on making it easier for all the family and the wider public to join in and have invested in attention-grabbing and easy to understand promotions, branding and assistance from their expert horticulturists when choosing the right berry and bird-friendly plants, shrubs and trees in its 14 outlets nationwide.
The campaign is being championed by staff in CountryLife’s Garden Centres, which are open year-round. Friendly staff and in-store horticulturalists are keen to guide both aspiring and experienced gardeners through their wide range of quality, wild bird-friendly plants, as well as the most appropriate feeders, seed and other wild bird foods for each and every garden.
In addition to its online store found at www.countrylife.ie, CountryLife Garden Centre includes the only Bord Bia approved 4-star garden centres in Kilkenny (Castlecomer), Wicklow (Ashford) and Waterford (Dungarvan). It has 3-star garden centres in Laois (Mountmellick), Kildare (Monasterevin), Kilkenny (Ballyhale), Offaly (Tullamore) Tipperary (Fethard), Waterford (Kilmeaden) Wexford (Bunclody, Campile and New Ross), Wicklow (Rathdrum).