A Tree per Case Sold

We closed out 2020 feeling very happy with ourselves, it was a big year for our family with a new arrival and the first full year of our whiskey business operating. All things being equal we were very fortunate to have our health and to see the company grow in its first full year on the market. Others were not so lucky in a year that will live long in infamy and that will leave its mark on not just the financial health of our nation but the mental health also.

One of the projects that makes me excited about our future and makes me very happy outside of new whiskey hitting shelves is our Native Tree Planting Program we just kicked off and the commitment we made in my first piece back in October about becoming carbon neutral by the end 2022.

This is why W.D. O’Connell Whiskey merchants started our initiative of planting a tree for every case sold and vow to continue this as long as we are still making whiskey. So hopefully for a very long time to come.

Why is reforesting so important ?

Well let’s focus on Ireland, it was once 80% woodland with forests comprising the likes of Birch, Oak and Elm and it is believed that the native squirrel could travel North to South without having to leave the tree canopy. Historic deforestation over the centuries has contributed to almost catastrophic losses of our native woodland leaving only 11% of Ireland’s land mass today covered in trees of which only around a miserable 2% are native. European countries average around 30% of forest coverage so Ireland is very much playing catch up and it is this generation of people’s responsibility to highlight the need to reforest our land using native species.

Native trees provide shelter and food for wildlife, they promote biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage. It’s extremely important that we highlight the importance of taking action now.

What can we do?

We are aware that a small whiskey brand alone cannot make the changes necessary to get Ireland back to it’s once heavily forested land, however we do know that we can be a part of the movement by promising to plant a native tree for each case sold and by educating others on the importance of reforesting Ireland. As the saying goes “ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.” 

The 2021 Brief:

We asked the wonderful Imogen from Trees on the Land to find suitable tree planting projects to accommodate 500 native trees on behalf of W.D. O’Connell Whiskey Merchants for planting in spring 2021. Trees to be planted in Co. Waterford and as close to Kilmacthomas as possible.

Outline of Project: Trees on the Land have worked with Dean O’Neill in Kilmacthomas for the last few years. He works to find and coordinate small tree planting projects in Co. Waterford each season – the majority of trees are planted on farms and with a focus on planting to support biodiversity. This season Dean has organised 9 small projects totaling 505 trees.

Tree Planting Schedule: All trees were planted in Spring 2021 and were completed by the end of March.

The 2022 Brief:

We are now asking you to submit to us locations in Waterford and beyond that we can consider using as a planting location next year. You can email daithi@wdoconnell.com with some details and I will be in touch to see if it is suitable. Next year we plan on planting 2000 trees and in the first 5 years we hope to plant 20k trees. 

The location could be a local community project or private land. Try and get in touch with us as soon as possible as we need to start the planning for Spring 2022 now. Also if you would like to start a similar project yourself I can put you in touch with Imogen.

Please get involved, the more you drink the more we plant, (I joke, drinkaware.ie) seriously though , maybe you have a small business or are in a position where you can try to make a difference in your locality. Imagine if every county had one small company doing this every year. Using 500 trees as the starting point we would have 16,000 new native trees planted in Ireland, now imagine if every major town in Ireland (  >5K people as of last census ) had one business or community group doing it. That would equate to a whopping 68,000 trees a year. Now if you add in towns and Villages smaller than 5k people we would soon be at close to 1m new native trees a year. 

Have a think about that.

For a look at where trees were planted this year, visit the map:

 W.D. O’Connell Reforestation – 2021