Living legacy of historic Foyle College Tree protected through tree cloning

4 November 2021

Living legacy of historic Foyle College Tree protected through tree cloning

Ulster University’s use of tree cloning has allowed a 150-year-old cut leaved Hornbeam tree situated on the grounds of the former Foyle College to live on at two different local sites.

Foyle College and Ulster University’s Magee campus will host the genetically identical trees from the veteran parent tree to be enjoyed for a further one hundred years.

The original College Tree was one of six trees from Northern Ireland shortlisted for the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year competition in 2017 but is now in its veteran stage and due to natural decline will soon be lost to the landscape. Students from Foyle College with an interest in sustainability were invited to plant both trees on their school site and at the Magee campus.

Nicole Sloane, Geography and Geology teacher from Foyle College commented:

“Students from our Environmental Club have maintained a close interest in this tree, and we were pleased to know that the team at Ulster University were preserving its presence for future generations.

We are delighted to host a genetically identical tree on our new campus and it’s been a great experience for our students to visit the University and learn about how it prioritises sustainability, especially during the week of the global climate conference COP26.”

Hugh Horner from Ulster University’s Magee Grounds Team commented:

“In the near future this beautiful tree will be lost to the landscape due to natural decline from old age.

A few months ago we completed some tree surgery work with an aim to prolong the life of the tree and also used a technique called grafting to produce genetically identical trees from the main parent tree.

We’re thrilled that the grafting worked and that we are sharing this experience with the students from Foyle College and that the tree’s legacy will live on across two educational sites in the city.”

As world leaders gather in Glasgow for global climate conference COP26 to discuss how to tackle climate change and global warming, Ulster University has developed a free sustainability course for secondary pupils across Northern Ireland with an introduction to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals case studies that promote sustainability.

The course also provides pupils with details about how Ulster University is making the institution and campuses as sustainable as possible for students, staff and the environment.

Find out more about Ulster University’s sustainability contributions

The University would like to express their thanks to Andrew Donnelly of Donnelly’s Nurseries Dungannon, for their expert grafting skills.


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