Building Urban Forest Resilience in Oshawa One Tree at a Time

This fall, LEAF helped grow the urban forest in Durham Region by planting over 750 native trees and shrubs on public land. We partnered with the City of Oshawa to complete our first naturalization planting project in Oshawa’s Central Park. Our Stewardship and Education Intern, Maiesha, reflects on their planting experience



On a crisp Saturday in October, LEAF staff, volunteers and community members came together to plant 73 native trees and 193 native shrubs in Oshawa for the first time. Planting events like this add more native tree and shrub species to the urban landscape, which helps build the resiliency of the urban forest overall.


Arriving at Central Park, I was struck by the sight of several stumps where full grown ash trees once stood. These ash trees had been affected by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) - an invasive beetle species that threatens 6.5% of Oshawa’s canopy cover. The larvae of the EAB damage ash trees by feeding on a thin portion of the inner bark, which is necessary for the tree to move nutrients from roots to leaves. 


It became evident that this planting site was very much in need of species diversity – and were excited to plant eight different tree and shrub species! Bringing in different tree and shrub species will help create more resiliency in our urban forest to withstand the damage caused by diseases and invasive species. 


We were joined by 53 dedicated community volunteers eager to help grow the urban forest and build resilience – one tree at a time. One of my personal highlights from the day, was learning that one of our volunteers, Cheryl, had registered for several planting events throughout the fall season to reach a goal of planting 50 trees by her 50th birthday. In Oshawa, that goal was realized! A big thank you to Cheryl for your hard work, dedication and choosing to celebrate your birthday with our fami-LEAF.


It can be difficult to see the larger impact of our actions in the short term, but Cheryl’s story inspires me to recognize that you can indeed, “see the forest for the trees”.


Even though we have completed our naturalization plantings for this year, we would love to have you join us in 2022 for more planting fun! To stay up to date on future planting events, sign up for our LEAF News or check out our Events page




This blog is the second in a series that highlights our naturalization planting work in Durham Region. 

Maiesha is the Education and Stewardship Intern with LEAF. 

This planting event is funded by Ontario Power Generation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation and supported by the City of Oshawa and the Regional Municipality of Durham.