Our volunteers went above and beyond and accomplished so much in 2019. Here are some of our highlights from the year:
Our Garden Stewards continued to tend to our six Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens, located outside of five TTC Subway stations and at Wychwood Barns Park. They have braved rain, aphids and litter to make these green spaces absolutely stunning! These gardens demonstrate to city residents that having native plant species in their community not only increases local biodiversity, but brings beauty to an otherwise grey cityscape.A Garden Steward suggested making signs for the winter to educate the public of the ecological functions of our gardens. We loved the idea so much that we installed new signs in each garden!
The Outreach Team was very busy this year by participating in 50 outreach events in Toronto, York Region and Ajax. In total, they spoke with over 1,900 residents about the importance of the urban forest and planting native species. These conversations are so valuable in educating the public and encouraging people to get involved in the great work we are doing.
LEAF volunteers also participated in ten community planting events that took place in Richmond Hill, King and Toronto. During these events, our volunteers taught participants how to properly plant and care for native trees and shrubs. In 2019 alone, we had over 1,200 participants come out to our events and plant over 2,500 trees and shrubs with us!
Leslieville Tree Festival, was the biggest yet with over 500 attendees! We had 25 volunteers assist that day by engaging with the public, grilling veggie dogs on the BBQ, making crafts with children, dressing up as our mascot Barkley and so much more!
In total, we had 239 active volunteers and even more tree planting participants help us this year! Combined, they gave over 4,200 hours of their own time to LEAF programs. Without their time, energy and dedication, none of the achievements we have had this year would be possible. Our volunteers believe in our mission, advocate for the urban forest and are committed to making a positive change in their communities. Looking back at everything that we have accomplished as a group, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to each and every person who gave of their time to help out. The work that we do to protect and enhance the urban forest can be challenging at times, but together there is nothing we can’t accomplish.
We are very excited for 2020, and are always looking for new volunteers to help us in our mission to protect and enhance the urban forest. To get involved, register here.
LEAF would like to thank our volunteers, partners, funders and supporters for your contributions in 2019. And, thank you to the Burdock Brewery for hosting our LEAF Community Appreciation event on December 02, 2019.
Brian Millward is the Stewardship Coordinator at LEAF.
Our Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens are supported by Ontario Power Generation and the Toronto Transit Commission.
Our Volunteer Outreach Team is supported by Ontario Power Generation.
Planting events in Richmond Hill are supported by the City of Richmond Hill, the Regional Municipality of York and the TD Friends of the Environment Fund. Planting events in King are supported by the Township of King and York Region.