Bayview Buckets

Street trees are often neglected and I have long felt that communities should take some responsibility for their care. In my neighbourhood, on Bayview Avenue north of Davisville subway station, there is a four-block commercial strip that thrives – but unlike the businesses, the trees aren’t doing so well. The west side is lined with trees in concrete planters but the east is presently without any greenery due to sidewalk reconstruction. The difference between the two is stark and so I decided to attempt a tree care project.

LEAF and trees are synonymous in this city and - as graduate of the Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Program - I turned to them for advice on how to proceed. Through a grant from Live Green Toronto to help Tree Tenders grads with neighbourhood tree initiatives, LEAF’s Amanda Gomm was able to help as a mentor.

 

Once we decided an adopt-a-tree project would be great for my neighbourhood, we began making some calls.  I first contacted my councillor, Josh Matlow (Ward 22) and then the local ratepayers group (SERRA) to inform them and see if they had any other suggestions wanted to get involved.

 

Amanda and I then decided to take a tree inventory and identify potential early adopters for the project.  By the end of September the two of us and another very knowledgeable LEAF volunteer set out and spent several hours identifying some 49 trees, recording their species and health condition. While we walked along the avenue, several people stopped to inquire about our effort.  Everyone loved the idea - we even recruited another volunteer to help out!

 

 

Now that we’ve completed the inventory, the next step will be to persuade business owners to become involved from April to September by 'adopting' the tree in front of their store and agreeing to water it on a weekly basis.  I’ve already begun writing a brochure that will be distributed next spring.  It outlines the economic advantages of a shaded, attractive streetscape and includes details on watering options.

 

We hope to get businesses on side by distributing donated “Bayview Buckets” - with a label on the side to indicate that the tree is being cared for by the business it sits in front of. We will approach a few at first in hopes of creating a buzz around the project and encouraging other merchants in the neighbourhood to do the same.

 

I am happy to have started this - it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before.  If it’s successful, perhaps it might even expand to other neighbourhoods - I know a few trees that could use it!

 

Helen Godfrey took one of the early Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Courses in fall 2008 at the Riverdale Library.  Since, she has been an active volunteer taking part in many of our workshops and events.  To find out more about the Baview tree audit or Bucket Project please leave a comment below.