With Trees Come Robins: Expanding York Region's Urban Forest

We are so proud to have continued growing the urban forest in York Region this spring by planting 2,000 trees and shrubs on public land! We partnered with the City of Richmond Hill, the Township of King and the City of Markham to complete nine naturalization planting events. Our Naturalization Assistant, Khawlah, reflects on her planting experience.

This spring, LEAF staff, volunteers and community members came together to plant native trees and shrubs across York Region which will result in a plethora of benefits for these communities and the overall resiliency of the urban forest.



Many of the parks we planted in are well-used by residents for recreational purposes such as sports fields and trails. Alongside these recreational spaces were underused open areas of mowed grass that would benefit from naturalization. Witnessing the change from mowed grass to a naturalized forest was astonishing and left me awestruck. I felt accomplishment knowing that I took part in the transformation.The newly planted trees and shrubs will provide fresh air and visual appeal to the community members that often visit these sites.



A special moment that I experienced at one planting site occurred after the event ended. As participants left and our team worked to ensure our planting was of high quality, the site quieted down. Once the quiet set in, I watched as robins came and hopped around from one tree or shrub to the other, seeming to examine our work too. The native plants will serve as a food source for wildlife and pollinatorsI believe that the robins were happy to see the new trees and shrubs!



This experience showed me that these planting events bring together a variety of unique people, with different stories and backgrounds, but they all had one thing in common - their care for nature. 



Although our spring naturalization plantings are complete for the year, we would love to have you join us this fall for more events! To stay up to date on future events, sign up for LEAF News


This blog is the first in a series that highlights our naturalization planting work in York Region.

Khawlah Usmani is a Naturalization Assistant at LEAF.

Our planting events are supported by the City of Richmond Hill, the Township of King, the City of Markham, the Regional Municipality of York, the OPG Regional Biodiversity Program, LCBO, TreeCanada and Trees for Life.

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