IrishCentral has teamed up with the Tree Council of Ireland to launch Irish Heritage Tree - a program that will plant 12,000 native Irish trees in a beautiful and historic site in the Golden Vale in County Tipperary.
The Irish Heritage Tree program allows anyone with Irish roots to celebrate their ancestral links to Ireland at a location steeped in natural beauty and teeming with wildlife.
John Purcell, who owns the 500-acre organic beef farm near Bansha in Tipperary, told IrishCentral that the farm has seen a surge in wildlife populations since he began implementing environmentally-friendly measures, including the improvement of water quality in the nearby River Fadaghta - the final resting place of one of St. Patrick's teeth, according to local legend.
Purcell installed a wetlands system to filter out nitrogen or phosphate from rainwater runoff before it hit the river, prompting growth in freshwater trout. He has also created several spawning beds on the 1km of the river that flows through his farm to improve reproduction.
Purcell additionally planted 6,500 trees along the banks of the river prior to the Irish Heritage Tree program, encouraging herons and otters to make the area their home.
"Because we don't farm right up close to the river, we've seen a lot of heron and otters," Purcell told IrishCentral. "It would be unheard of to see otters years ago, but the river is quiet, secluded, and a safe area from them."
The Tipperary farmer said that he has seen a surge in the local hare population since the farm went organic in 1998.
"They were hunted for years, so it's great to see them have a kind of sanctuary in our farm at the moment."
The farm has attracted several new wildlife species over the years, while it has also enhanced existing wildlife species, according to Purcell.
He said that he added new beehives to the farm a number of years ago and said that the bees have been a "godsend" in establishing biodiversity on the farm.
"We put new beehives on the farm a few years ago and they've been a godsend for us. They've pollinated our grass and our clovers and helped increase our biodiversity."