Lessons from Naturalizing Richmond Hill’s Urban Forest

Danielle holding silver maple leaf
Throughout May and early June, LEAF staff members were busy bees naturalizing public lands in the City of Richmond Hill. As a first-time tree planter, I was amazed that we were able to plant over 700 native trees and shrubs in just seven days! As I reflect back on the planting days, every day was unique and offered new learning opportunities for me. Here are three lessons I learned as a first-time tree planter!

Stewardship, Education and Volunteering in an Uncertain Year

six people celebrating surrounded by young recently planted trees
Throughout 2020, our Community Programs team was tasked with adapting many of our programs and events to follow ever-evolving public health guidelines. Despite the many changes, we were able to continue to engage volunteers and community members with fun and informative programs aimed at protecting and enhancing the urban forest. Here are some of the year’s accomplishments.

Tree Planting Has Lasting Effect on Biodiversity and Communities

Woman planting a tree on ground
This fall, with support from Ontario Power Generation’s Regional Biodiversity Program, we launched a new project to increase biodiversity on public lands in York and Durham Regions by the year 2022. We’re happy to announce a great start to this project! This fall alone, we planted 1,617 native trees and shrubs in and hosted a virtual tree tour, attended by 90 people.

Planting for Biodiversity in the Time of COVID-19

Throughout the month of October, LEAF staff and volunteers worked together to naturalize 5,650 square meters of public land in the City of Richmond Hill. Together, we planted over 1,600 native trees and shrubs! It’s a great start to our bigger goal of planting 6,000 native trees and shrubs by 2022 with support from Ontario Power Generation’s Regional Biodiversity Program. Sites will be selected across York and Durham Regions. Below, we share information on our naturalization efforts and photos capturing our activities.