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Minister of State Wallace launches "Project Forest"

Educational Initiative for transitional students

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with responsibility for forestry, today launched "Project Forest" in the ENFO Offices in Andrew Street, Dublin. "Project Forest" is an educational initiative for transition year students, aimed at increasing awareness of trees and forestry and their environmental and economic role in Irish life. The Project was first developed by the Tree Council of Ireland in the 1990's with Government funding and was presented in binder format with a supporting CD-ROM. This allowed students to work in an interactive environment while also receiving exposure to environmental, business, geographical and historical information about trees and forestry.

Launching the Project, Minister Wallace commented, "While the original 'project forest' was comprehensive and presented in an appropriate format for the time, it became apparent that, due to the advancement in modern technology, measures needed to be taken to update and modify the Project. With this in mind, and on the advice of the National Transition Year Coordinator, 'Project Forest' has now become web based and its main focus is on Leaving Certificate subjects that interact with forestry, such as Agricultural Science, Biology, Geography, Woodwork and to a lesser extent history and folklore".

The Minister of State spoke briefly about the recent developments in the forestry sector, including the recent full roll out of the Forest Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS), saying "his scheme has achieved and indeed exceeded its targets in the pilot phase year and is now being fully rolled out with a number of modifications that will make it even more attractive for farmers".

Minister of State Wallace concluded by stressing the importance of new planting to sustain the forestry sector into the future so that forestry can continue to provide its many benefits for society and the economy, adding "I am confident that transition year students will benefit enormously from this 'Project Forest' in its revised format, both now and in the long term, and that, consequently, society in general will benefit from the knowledge and insight that these students will bring about trees and forestry into their future careers and lives" and congratulated the Tree Council of Ireland on the Project.

Date Released: 05 March 2008