On a beautiful, sunny, October morning during Tree Week 2016, the girls in 4th and 5th classes headed off to Bushy Park to meet with Tom from the Dublin City Parks. They were divided into groups and each one brought a clipboard, an information pack and magnifying glasses. Every student had a paper bag to collect interesting objects from the forest floor. Being talented photographers, a few of the girls brought cameras, to capture Bushy Park on this stunning Autumn day!
For the last few years, Tom has been our guide in the Park and has brought us on many Tree Trails, each season revealing new and fascinating changes in the flora and fauna of the park. Bushy Park is an incredible resource to have on our doorstep and Tom regaled us with interesting facts and stories about all areas of the park. The girls took lots of photographs and compiled the following information-
- Tom has worked in Bushy Park for 11 years.
- He planted Redwood trees eight years ago. He also showed us a huge one, that was 180 years old. Redwood trees can survive for 2000 years!
- We found the “furry” fruit of the sweet chestnut tree. The branches of the tree have a really strange shape. Tom explained that it was because, as it grows , it follows the sun. The sweet chestnut was brought to England by the Romans.
- Red squirrels are native to Ireland, but we don`t see very many of them in our parks. They`re gradually being reintroduced to this country. Although grey squirrels are not native, we tend to see a lot more of them. They arrived in Ireland many years ago when a male and female were given to a couple as a wedding present and they escaped and bred.
- There`s a haunted tree in the park…the Park Keeper regularly gets tapped on the back by the branches, but only when he`s alone in the Park in the evening!
- The shell house is a ruin in the Park. Tom explained that the land around Bushy Park was once owned by the Shaw Family. Their son was handicapped and loved to collect shells in Bray. To this day, these shells embellish the walls of what is now just a ruin.
- Bats hibernate in the bat houses, These were especially built to house them during hibernation. 30-40 bats can fit in one house!
- Tom explained that there are no rats in Bushy Park as the mink are killing them all.
- Bushy Park has a heronry.
- Heron nests are generally at the top of the Scots Pine trees
Thanks Tom for sharing your great wisdom and knowledge with
the girls of St. Pius X, and we look forward to a
Spring Tree Trail in 2017!