Back to Nature in Trinity Bellwoods

On August 22nd, members of the community congregated for an informative tree tour through Trinity Bellwoods Park. Over the summer, four of LEAF’s 2018 cohort of Young Urban Forest Leaders (YUFL), Stephanie Clark, Sam Hayden, Julia Spina, and Melissa Szopa, worked with the community group Friends of Trinity Bellwoods to prepare for this event.


The group created an interactive inventory of adoptable trees on Google Maps with over 200 trees, and learned about tree identification processes. This map was created as a tool to aid the Friends of Trinity Bellwoods group with running the Adopt-a-Park-Tree Program in the park. With accurate mapping and identification, a specific tree may be adopted by a member of the community and its health and overall status can be tracked.


 Sam Hayden, Melissa Szopa, Stephanie Clark and Julia Spina at Trinity Bellwoods Park


The YUFLs led the tour north along the main western path of the park, stopping along key park features, such as the greenhouse and pollinator garden. These key features act as an ideal example of successful community involvement at work! The greenhouse is used by the community as a place to grow seedlings in the spring and as a water source for those who have adopted park trees. The pollinator garden is one of many strategically located around the city and is part of the Butterflyway project initiated by the David Suzuki Foundation.


The Trinity Bellwoods greenhouse and pollinator garden


Tree identification, tree stresses, and historical significance were running themes throughout the course of the tour. A range of species were highlighted in order to showcase the diverse growing conditions and unique attributes, the historical and current cultural significance, and to spark the interest of the event participants to pay closer attention to their local canopy. 


Sam describes the European beech trees at the park entrance


Between stops, Stephanie included a brief history of Trinity Bellwoods Park, Gore Vale, and the decisions made over Garrison Creek through the many decades. This addition to the tree tour allowed the tour narrative to be grounded in a sense of place and added context for the park’s identity in the historical development of the City of Toronto.


Stephanie discusses Dutch Elm Disease in Toronto


Julia compared Norway, silver, and sugar maples. She highlighted the differences and similarities between the leaves and provided tricks to correctly distinguish each species. She discussed how Norway maples are an invasive species that out-compete the native sugar and silver maples.

Julia describes the differences between a Norway and a sugar maple leaf


After the tour concluded, the YUFL team demonstrated and explained the importance of mulching trees. The participants quickly took on the challenge of mulching the younger trees in the north end of the park and enthusiastically used up the giant mulch pile in less than one hour! Participants enjoyed snacks, learned about urban environmental stewardship and took home free native shrubs to plant at their own homes. There was a wonderful positivity expressed from all involved. The event was a great success!


Participants lending a hand
Learn more about LEAF’s Young Urban Forest Leaders program here.
Learn more about LEAF’s Adopt-A-Park-Tree program here.
Learn more about the Friends of Trinity Bellwoods and their Adopt-A-Park-Tree program here.
Sam Hayden, Melissa Szopa, Stephanie Clark and Julia Spina are participants of the 2018 Young Urban Forest Leaders (YUFL) program organized by LEAF.
LEAF’s Adopt-a-Park-Tree and Young Urban Forest Leaders programs are implemented in partnership with Park People and are supported by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation.