Airport volunteers uproot to Rams Island

9 Oct 2015

Belfast International Airport employees are doing their bit to help the environment this weekend by lending a hand to uproot sycamore saplings on Rams Island, Lough Neagh.

The Rams Island Heritage Project (an undertaking of the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association Company) is committed to helping protect and conserve the wildlife and heritage of Rams Island on Lough Neagh.

The 11 volunteers from Belfast International Airport (BIA) will braving whatever weather Saturday brings, be it rain, hail or shine by helping to remove sycamore saplings from the island. 

While sycamore trees have a beauty of their own, their growth is threatening to distort the growth cycle of the island’s native trees.  The sycamores, if left to grow wild, grow tall and thin, overshadowing the other native trees and they’re easily uprooted in high winds. 

One of the volunteers, BIA’s Mark Gaul, said:

“We’re a little nervous as none of us have done anything like this before but it’s always great to try something different! It’s nice to know that we can help those who share an area near to Belfast International by protecting the environment on Rams Island.

“Hopefully by the end of the day we’ll be able to see the difference we’ve made. The  stunning landscape is part of what attracts so many people to this part of the world, many of them travelling through the airport, so it’s only right that we play our part in helping to maintain the natural beauty we are so lucky to be surrounded by.”

Michael Savage, who is Warden for the Rams Island Project commented: “ This project is volunteer led and we depend on support from those who work near and visit the island. 

“There is always something to be done on Rams Island, be it removing the sycamore saplings or ‘Balsalm bashing’. We are delighted that Belfast International Airport, which is on our doorstep, is helping in a very practical way.”

Belfast International Airport’s volunteers will be joined on Saturday by groups from ASDA and Rehab.

Weather permitting the day will finish with a BBQ - no doubt well-earned by the volunteers at the end of their day of sycamore uprooting.

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