Photo of the Month: The Tree Warrior

Do you think this tree could use some friends? This Photo of the Month is an eerie shot of a tree all alone. At first it may not exactly scream “urban forest,” but as the distant horizon, dotted with treetops, comes into view, it strikes me as a vanguard – a tree creeping ahead of the pack.


LEAF supporter Ryan Halpenny snapped the photo early one September morning out on the Leslie Spit. The poplar (Populus spp.) is an early succession species – the type of tree that can grow in harsh conditions, often following the disruption of a habitat, or in this case, the creation of one: the Leslie Spit.


Photo of the Month: Leslie Spit


Leslie Street used to end in a beach, but starting in the 1950s it was filled in and extended to a peninsula that became an "accidental wilderness." Derek Flack dove into the fascinating history of the spit for BlogTO, which you can read in full here.  Now it’s home to over 300 species of birds – as highlighted in this blog by Ontario Nature, fellow OPG Biodiversity partner.


Even without a historical frame or context, we love the imagery of this tree literally rising against adversity, out of the infill. And while it seems to be doing fine on its own, stewardship is a major component of the work we do here at LEAF. I bet anyone who has taken our Tree Tenders Volunteer Training can’t help but feel the urge to spread some mulch around its trunk.


Have you seen any trees popping up in unexpected places?