Montanna Daikun, an Urban Forest Champion!

After recently completing my Master of Forest Conservation degree, I’m very excited to apply my knowledge to a full-time position with LEAF! In my first post as Planting and Stewardship Intern, I highlight some of the reasons why I love trees…and encourage you to identify your own.

I’ve loved the forest for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, you could always find me in the woods near our house, either discovering existing creatures and adventures or using my imagination to create new ones.  Now, if ever I’m stressed or sad about something, I can always count on a forest walk to restore my calm. (As for whether I still find goblins, fairies, and centaurs in the forest…well, that’s for me to know, and you to maybe find out someday.)

Really, though…doesn’t this forest look like it’s hiding something amazing?


The woods have incredible sheltering power. When the sun is blazing overhead on a busy summer day, the hushed, dappled shade provides an escape. When it’s raining, the trees’ leaves intercept much of the water, letting just a few playful drops through. And which one of us hasn’t heard the wind in the trees and been reassured, as if a gentle voice was whispering to us that everything would be okay? Some rain, wind, and sunlight does filter through, of course…but this only reminds us that there’s more out there than what we’re escaping from. When we leave the refuge we’re finding among the trees, we leave it with a greater perspective.

Backus Woods: A renowned Carolinian forest near Long Point, Ontario.


There are many reasons to love the forest – opportunities for discovery, sense of peace, cleaner air and water, biodiversity…the list goes on! But once I started thinking about my appreciation for trees, I realized that a) many of the trees I saw around me needed help, and b) I wanted to do something about it. The good news is that there are many ways to help our trees – especially in the urban forest, where they are most stressed.  Urban trees – and their benefits – are not restricted to large woodland areas within the city: they are also found in yards, and on streets. Any of these trees can be cared for, and tree cover can be increased at any of these sites.




That’s why I’m really excited to be starting a Planting and Stewardship Intern position with LEAF! Not only will I get to help plant the right trees and shrubs in the right places – thereby increasing our local forest cover – but I’ll get to help care for existing city trees, and meet more people who appreciate them the way I do. Whether you’re getting a tree planted or delivered by us for the first time (or the second, or the third), or participating in one of our many stewardship programs or events, I’m really looking forward to connecting with fellow urban forest-dwellers. And until then, I encourage you all to think about why you love the forest – and to let it inspire you, too.


Montanna Diakun is LEAF’s new Planting and Stewardship Intern.  Her position is supported by the Eco Canada Internship Program.