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UCC unveils new, free, Arboretum tours to celebrate National Tree Week

21 Mar 2022
At the launch of the new 'Trees of UCC' brochure were (left to right) Emma Hutchinson, Dr. Barbara Doyle Prestwich and Dr. Eoin Lettice. Photo: Tomas Tyner
  • New self-guided tour of UCC Arboretum is free to the public.
  • Audio guide via app is in development.
  • Free brochure developed following Science Foundation Ireland funding.

University College Cork has launched a new self-guided tour of its globally-recognised Arboretum, which is being made completely free of charge to the public.

The initiative, launched to coincide with National Tree Week, will enable the public to take in thousands of trees across UCC's Arboretum, while accompanied by a free guide developed by the University’s leading plant experts. The self-guided tour features trees on UCC's historic main campus which is open to visitors all year round.

Those taking the self-guided tours will benefit from a new brochure which features a detailed map of the campus as well as highlights of the top 10 trees, plus some interesting sylvan facts.

UCC further plans to develop an audio tour of the Arboretum, which was officially recognised in 2020 by the worldwide ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Programme.

The UCC Arboretum dates from the foundation of the university as Queen’s College Cork in 1845 and makes a significant contribution to UCC’s award-winning and globally recognised Green Campus. In total, the entire arboretum now covers over 42 acres and is made up of approximately 2,500 trees, with over 120 different species represented in the collection. These species range from native Irish and British trees to American, Asian, Australian and European specimens. The self-guided tour focuses on the main campus section of the wider UCC Arboretum collection.

The production of this brochure has been funded by Science Foundation Ireland as part of the Tree Explorers Project. The Tree Explorers project has been running public tours as well as school tours since the start of the project in 2021. This new brochure will bring a new dimension to the Arboretum by promoting self-guided tours.

Dr. Eoin Lettice, one of the project leads, welcomed the publication: “This brochure really adds to the Tree Explorers project and opens up the wonderful trees of UCC Arboretum by making them more accessible to all.”

Emma Hutchinson, Research Assistant on the project highlighted that: “UCC Arboretum is a central element of the Tree Explorers Project. By having this brochure, it helps spread the word about the importance and value of trees to a wider audience.”

Tree Explorers utilises the historic and nationally important collection at UCC to maximise STEM education and public engagement in the area. As part of the project, a range of outreach activities, particularly focussed on engaging those in communities at risk of disadvantage and social exclusion have been developed and delivered.

A ‘UCC Tree Tour’ has been created as well as a series of specific tours as part of Science Week, National Tree Week and other important STEM events. Educational materials, a website, videos linking trees to STEM topics have also been developed as part of the project.

Dr Barbara Doyle Prestwich (co-lead on the project) acknowledges the support of Science Foundation Ireland whose Discover Programme funding has facilitated strong connections with such a broad demographic, from school kids to community groups.

The next stage of the project is to establish an app including an audio tour to accompany the new brochure. This will be developed in conjunction with the already successful Green Campus app.

Copies of the new brochure are available from the UCC Visitors Centre as well as at the Glucksman gallery. A copy can also be downloaded from the UCC Arboretum website ucc.ie/en/arboretum.

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

University College Cork, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, Ireland T23 N73K

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