Planting Trees Grows Communities!

On April 27, 2019 the sky was overcast, the wind was relentless and the temperature was cold enough to require multiple layers of clothing to step outside! It did not seem like a good day to plant trees. Yet, in spite of the inclement weather, the Richmond Hill community came out to plant native trees and shrubs in Meander Park. In fact, this planting event was among our most popular – with roughly 200 participants and 400 trees and shrubs planted!

 

 

The energy of the event’s participants was undeniable. They were so excited to breathe new life into a section of their park as we gathered to begin our event! With the help of LEAF volunteer planting leaders, they were able to learn the proper tree planting and care techniques. From there, it was up to the participants to get their hands dirty and get those plants in the ground!

 

It was heart-warming to see how passionate the local participants were and the knowledge they had about the importance of trees. They really understood the value of having more trees in their neighbourhood as they provide cleaner air, reduce flooding and contribute towards better habitat for local wildlife. It was the knowledge of giving back to their environment and community that made just a little bit of wind inconsequential.

 

While it was inspiring to see so many people work towards improving the urban forest, an unexpected result was watching as this community became more connected! Planting trees is not an easy task, especially by yourself (don’t believe everything you hear about Johnny Appleseed!). So, having people work together made everything go so much more smoothly and enjoyably. While watching families, friends and neighbours come together to work towards a common goal, it was clear that this community was becoming closer.

 

Many people approached us afterwards about wanting to do more tree planting and we’re so excited to return to Meander Park on Sunday, May 26 to continue our naturalization efforts!

 

For me, one of my most memorable moments of the day was listening to a pair of children chant, “We love planting trees!” as they left the event. It’s remarkable to think that when these children return to the park to play on the playground (they have a zip line at this place!), they will be able to see the trees they planted grow and enrich their community and the urban forest.

 

Now, looking back at the experience, the wind, the clouds and the temperature are just a footnote. It was the energy, passion and warmth of the people of Richmond Hill that made this planting event a huge success!

 

 

From everyone at LEAF, thank you to the volunteers and local community members for putting in the elbow grease and making the urban forest in Richmond Hill stronger.

 

 

 

LEAF stewardship events are free to join and open to the public. Interested in joining an upcoming event? Check out our events page for one near you!

 

Brian Millward is the Stewardship Coordinator at LEAF.

 

This planting event is supported by the City of Richmond Hill, the Regional Municipality of York and the TD Friends of the Environment Fund.

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