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vert bar IN THE NEWS 20th February 2006

Diarmuid Gavin launches Refugee Trust International's 'Miracle Tree' appeal

Tuesday February 20th 2006 Irish gardener and television personality Diarmuid Gavin (who originally studied at the College of Amenity Horticulture at the Gardens) helped to launch Refugee Trust International's 'Buy a Miracle' campaign in the National Botanic Gardens. The moringa tree is a fast-growing, drought tolerant and pest resistant species, as well as being a truly multi-purpose tree, which provides edible foliage, firewood, medicinal extracts and soil stabilisation throughout India and the horn of Africa.

Diarmuid, with Jamie Lawless (7) from Blanchardstown and Danait Haile (12) from Balbriggan, who are holding seedlings of Moringa stenopetala, the Miracle Tree, in the Botanic Gardens.

The new campaign is part of Refugee Trusts International's 'Household and Community Forestation Project' in Eritrea. They hope to spread the moringa tree among 100,000 families in order to boost food intake and improve livelihoods. The tree is being used to spearhead this campaign by encouraging the Irish public to raise money to provide families in Eritrea with seedlings and planting materials.

Eritrea is a small country in the Horn of Africa extending along the Red Sea between Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti. The country gained its independence after a war over 30 years, which left the countryside devastated.

You can learn more about the tree and the campaign on Refugee Trust International's website.

The moringa tree is growing in the Plam house at the National Botanic Gardens, and can be viewed there.