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Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, working in partnership with Moy Park, is delighted to announce a new biodiversity recovery project for schools.

The Hedgerow Heroes Project will benefit a total of 33 schools over the next three years, with 11 schools selected to participate each year. Each school will receive 20m of native hedgerow, planted by students during one of three project workshops. Education will be provided on correct hedgerow management, and schools will receive a follow up visit to support their developing hedges.

This project, and others like it, are much needed. Northern Ireland is the 12th worst performing region in the world for biodiversity loss. Native hedgerow plants like hawthorn, blackberry and hazel maximise habitat opportunities and resources for wildlife. Over the course of the coming three years, this project will provide a total of 660m of new hedgerow for Northern Ireland, providing significant opportunities for biodiversity recovery.

Hedgerows also have an important role to play in reaching net zero: the UK Committee on Climate Change has recommended a 40% increase to the UK hedgerow network.

Emma Denton, Biodiversity Recovery Coordinator at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said, “We’re pleased to launch this important project in partnership with Moy Park. Northern Ireland’s biodiversity is rapidly declining; urgent action is needed to protect our wildlife for future generations to enjoy. The Hedgerow Heroes project is an exciting opportunity for schools to learn about biodiversity recovery, while also improving their local environment in a practical way.”

Declan Cunningham, Head of Sustainability and Risk at Moy Park said:

“We’re delighted to partner with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and schools across NI to improve biodiversity. Hedgerows are vital for providing shelter for wildlife as well as food and foraging opportunities for birds. This initiative is a great way to help children learn more about nurturing healthy habitats in their local environment, and become Hedgerow Heroes.

“At Moy Park our ambition is to reach Net Zero by 2040, and biodiversity plays a key part in our sustainability strategy to make this happen. We have set up biodiversity teams at our sites across the UK, as well as working with schools and community groups to improve biodiversity in our local areas.”

A competition to select participating schools will launch next week- keep an eye on the Eco Schools NI website, www.eco-schoolsni.org , and social media channels for more details.