Erin MacDonald's picture
Posted by Erin MacDonald /
© City of Toronto 2015 \ LEAF
On a very busy street corner, people collected on a patch of grass around a small podium fronted by two cute watering cans. We were there to celebrate the trees that line our streets and to launch an Adopt-a-Street-Tree pilot project that will engage volunteers and businesses in caring for trees planted along the Danforth between Woodbine and Victoria Park – 142 trees to be exact!
 

 

Businesses and neighbours from across the pilot’s reach have been coming together to ensure that their street has every chance to transform to its leafiest, most beautiful potential. Volunteers have been out walking the Danforth, talking with business owners and nearby residents about the economic and social benefits of street trees. Business owners and nearby residents have been stepping up the plate to help nurture the trees they encounter on a daily basis.

 

Outreach volunteer team ready to talk with the local community about the project.

 

Trees growing on commercial streets have to deal with some tough challenges. They grow in limited soil volume and face a number of other stresses like sidewalk salt and bicycle locks. Yet, simple acts of stewardship can go a very long way in helping our street trees thrive.  Care includes things like watering, removing weeds and litter, replacing mulch and planting drought and salt tolerant perennials in the tree beds. This added care and protection that the local community can provide will significantly increase tree survival and success, especially for trees that are newly planted. That’s the pilot’s goal. By providing community members with some simple tips on tree stewardship, we hope that each new tree will get a little extra TLC to help it thrive.

 

Stewardship tips for tree adopters.

 

Catherine Dorton, a local resident and tree advocate, was one of the speakers to take the podium during the celebration. As a member of the Danforth East Community Association (DECA) and a graduate of LEAF’s Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Program , she eloquently sewed together the vision for a more vibrant, walkable, safe and fun community and the vital role  street trees play in achieving that vision. She emphasized how helping the trees grow will beautify and shade the Danforth, providing relief from the hot sun and attracting more people to visit this commercial district.

 

“Since I started on the project, I’ve been having a great deal of fun,” Catherine says. “Adopting a tree is like walking a dog. When you care for one, people take an interest. They stop and talk. They ask questions. They get involved. They help. You get to know names and stories. You build community.”

 

So far, 52 trees have been adopted and the buzz around the project continues to grow.

Every adopter receives a window decal to show how much they love their Danforth trees!

 

This project is generously supported by the City of Toronto and TD Green Streets awarded by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and Tree Canada. LEAF and the City of Toronto will be developing an Adopt-a-Street-Tree Manual that will facilitate replication of the initiative in other commercial districts across Toronto.

 

This is another great step towards a healthier urban forest in Toronto. Thanks so much to all of our volunteers and early adopters who have played such an important role in bringing this pilot project to life.

 

If you are interested in helping this pilot be a great success, please contact erin[at]yourleaf.org. Education and outreach volunteers are always needed and there are still many trees that need adopters.

 

Erin MacDonald is LEAF’s Volunteer and Stewardship Coordinator.

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