Planting Trees for a Healthy Planet

Like many parents, Cheryl Gula is passionate about ensuring there is a healthy planet for her son as he grows up. This Urban Forest Champion is doing her part to make sure that happens by using the available space on her Markham property to plant trees. Her backyard trees will not only benefit her son, but the winder community for generations to come!


I had the chance to connect with Cheryl about her experience with LEAF and her decision to help grow the urban forest. I’m excited to share what she had to say!


How did you first become interested in the urban forest?

My husband and I were interested in the idea of planting trees to help mitigate climate change and, from there, we started researching. At first, I thought that an individual person or an individual house can’t really do much. But, I learned that even planting one tree can make a huge impact! After our research, we decided: since there were three people in our house and we have a spacious backyard, why not plant three trees?


How did you find out about LEAF and how have you been involved?

I found LEAF when I searched the internet for tree planting programs in Markham. We like to support non-profits and we found out that there was a subsidy from the City of Markham. I was surprised by how inexpensive it was and signed up right away!


Please share an interesting story or memorable moment from your experience with LEAF.

I really liked that LEAF came to our house, looked at our backyard and measured to see how many trees we would have space for. The arborist took the time to walk us through the reasoning behind her recommendations, considering factors like the amount of sunlight and the direction of our house. She also took a little walk around the neighborhood and said one of the things we could do with our tree selection is to help increase the diversity in our neighbourhood. This is something I hadn’t thought of, but I really liked!

One of the trees we got was a paper birch, which is a tree that I have always loved even from when I was a kid. The other two trees the arborist recommended, a swamp white oak and an Ohio buckeye, brought diversity to the neighbourhood, and would provide shade to our backyard one day which is something we were looking for.


What does the urban forest mean to you and what message would you like to share with others to encourage them to become involved?

I have a little kid, so it is important for me to do anything that I can to make sure the planet is as healthy as it can be so he can be healthy and happy!

And, planting trees could not have been easier. Everyone we spoke with was lovely. It was a pleasure to deal with everyone at LEAF. Then, you get these beautiful trees and you feel like you are doing something good!


Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thank you! LEAF has brought a lot of interest to our backyard. It was a big, blank empty backyard, but once the trees grow, they will bring privacy and shade. They make our backyard more fun for my son and dog to play in. If you have the money to spend, it’s such a worthy cause and you get something beautiful! I would highly recommend it! It could not have been easier.


Are you interested in helping grow the urban forest by adding native trees to your property? By participating in the LEAF Backyard Tree Planting Program you receive personalized help from a certified arborist to pick the right tree for you and your property all at a subsidized rate! Additionally, we have special partnerships with certain municipal and regional partners to offer further discounts on top of the already subsidized cost, such as the special pricing for certain trees to Markham residents mentioned by Cheryl. Visit our Homeowners page to find out more.


Mikayla Richards was the Marketing Assistant at LEAF.


LEAF offers a subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program for private property. The program is supported by the City of Toronto, the Regional Municipality of York, the City of Markham, the Town of Newmarket, the Town of Ajax, the Regional Municipality of Durham, the Township of Scugog, the City of Pickering, the City of Oshawa, the Town of Whitby and Ontario Power Generation.