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21 May 2022

Nurse a tree takes root at Portlaoise hospital

National Nurse-A-Tree Initiative launched in the Midlands

Nurse a tree takes root at Portlaoise hospital

Minister of State Pippa Hackett plants the oak tree on the grounds of the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise

An Irish healthcare initiative to plant a tree for every nurse in Ireland was launched today in the Midlands. 

Nurse A Tree are raising €200,000 to plant a tree for all 80,000 nurses across Ireland as a living legacy to honour, give thanks and recognition to all nurses in Ireland who have been frontline during the Pandemic. 

Trees were planted at the Midlands Hospitals in Tullamore and Portlaoise today by Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, to mark the start of the campaign. 

“My Department has a number of schemes to encourage tree-planting, so I’m delighted to see this initiative coming from the healthcare and private sector,” said Minister Hackett. “I wish them well in their efforts,” she said.

Nurse A Tree plans to work with public and private landowners, as well as local councils, under schemes promoted by the Department of Agriculture.

The NAT project was established in early 2021, inspired by the CleanMed conference and the Filipino nurses working in Finland. Nurse A Tree is partnering with Green Belt who will provide professional forestry expertise. Green Belt, established in 1982, is Ireland’s largest and oldest private forestry group. 

Sandra McCarthy, Director of Nursing at the Midland Regional Hospital at Portlaoise and Louisea Burke, Director of Nursing at the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore said.

“We are delighted to see the support for our nurses on the frontline and would like to thank ‘Nurse a Tree’ for this kind gesture of an Oak Tree and Minister Pippa Hackett for her support. Covid-19 has been a relentless battle for all our staff across the health services. 

“The Oak tree is one of the most loved trees in the world, it is a symbol of strength, morale, resistance and knowledge, which very much represents the efforts of all Health Care Professionals during the Covid19 pandemic. It is encouraging to see the support of our community and this tree for our Hospitals symbolises all our efforts and hope for the future. Thank you,” she said.

Nurse A Tree - ‘Our Forests, Our Future’ - will plant 80,000 trees for nurses in Ireland this year on municipal and public lands. Our woodlands will be located throughout Ireland, in and close to communities where nurses and their families live and work. These trees will, in time, nurse the planet. Members of the public can donate via the website https://www.nurseatree.ie/donate 

The European Nurse Climate Challenge has also been recently launched and NAT is collaborating with Healthcare Without Harm Europe (HCWH) to raise awareness of Climate Action in Healthcare in Ireland. This initiative will create native woodlands that will help clean the air by capturing and storing carbon. Respiratory and cardiovascular diseases can be adversely affected by our environment and the solution is in our hands. By planting these woodlands, healthcare in the future will be greatly influenced by the actions we take now. 

These nurse forests will also help with stress and enhance wellbeing. Greenways between health centres, community centres and hospitals are envisaged. Raising awareness of positive climate action is an important part of the mission. Nurse A Tree will be providing information points throughout the forest walks.

Communities getting involved. For further information and to register your interest visit our website www.nurseatree.ie or on our social media channels.

For more information and corporate support, please contact Clodagh Connaughton at Clodagh@nurseatree.ie  086 152 2769 or Maurice Ryan at maurice@nurseatree.ie or on 087 675 3097 

In the picture at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise are Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Green Party Senator Pippa Hackett, Sandra McCarthy, Director of Nursing, Geraldine Britton CNM2 Medical ward and Michelle Murphy Staff Nurse CCU will be attending to represent Nursing in MRHP, Maureen Revilles, Director of Midwifery,  Ita Kinsella, Assistant Director of Nursing and Michael Knowles, General Manager.

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