Belleek Forest Park in Ballina is the Connaught winner of the RDS Forest Service Awards 2013 in the Community Woodlands category.
The award is well-deserved recognition for the voluntary work carried out by the Belleek Forest Enhancement Committee over many years in Belleek Wood.
It was also fitting that Cyril Collins, Chairman of the Belleek Forest Enhancement Committee, was presented with a Certificate of Merit by Minister of State, Tom Hayes, at a ceremony in Castletown House, Leixlip, Co Kildare.
Mr Collins, a retired Garda Sergeant and popular member of the Ballina community, has devoted his time and efforts to enhance the beautiful woodland on the banks of the River Moy.
Mr Collins was the prime mover in having red squirrels introduced to Belleek Wood and the native squirrel is now thriving.
All those who visit the wood are delighted when they spot one of the elusive little creatures. The Belleek Wood duck pond is also another big attraction particularly for families who have lots of fund feeding the ducks.
Mr Collins was accompanied by Seán Newcombe, Secretary, Belleek Forest Enhancement Committee, who must also be congratualted for his Trojan work over many years with the Committee in transforming Belleek Wood into one of County Mayo’s best and most used outdoor amenities.
Belleek Wood is becoming more popular by the month and is busy every day of the week with walkers, joggers, athletes, and wildlife enthusiasts. The woodland is part of the Monasteries of the Moy Greenway, a walking and cycling trail linking Ballina to Killala.
Pictured above: Cyril Collins is pictured receiving his award from Tom Hayes, TD, Junior Minister for Agriculture and Forestry.Left to Right: Tom Cannon, Chairman, R.D.S. Committee of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Mr. Tom Hayes, TD, Matt Dempsey, Vice Chairman, R.D.S., Cyril Collins and Seán Newcombe, Secretary, Belleek Forest Enhancement Committee.