Young Urban Forest Leaders reflect on their Adopt-a-Park-Tree experience

Our team is part of the Young Urban Forest Leaders Program initiated by LEAF. Our goal is to successfully create an Adopt-A-Park Tree program for Fairmount Park located at 1725 Gerrard St. E., Toronto, ON. This has been an exciting journey for all of us.


The Fairmount Park Team would like to extend our gratitude to everyone who attended our Tree Tour and Adopt-A-Park Tree Launch on October 3, 2015. We would not have been successful with this event without the help of LEAF. Erin and Robyn have been a great help, sharing their passion and knowledge of the urban forest. Their support has encouraged us to make this event possible.


A newly adopted and mulched tree with its young tree steward


We are also very grateful to Beach Hill Tree Team for their support throughout the project and the event. We enjoyed working with everyone on this project. We would also like to extend our gratitude to our City Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon for taking the time to attend the event and for providing a very inspiring speech. Lastly, we thank David Livingston-Lowe for providing a history of the newly planted fruit trees at the park. These trees add to the diversity and beauty of the Park.
Many thanks to LEAF volunteers Maria and David for helping make this day a success!


Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon shares inspiring words on community tree stewardship


Each of our members would like to share their reflections on our journey throughout the project: 
Monika: I have learned that the focused energy of a few people can be very productive! One thing that was surprisingly challenging was getting people from all different parts of the city to meet in the park. Coordinating different work schedules and travel times can be a real struggle! One of my favourite moments throughout this program was having community members approach us and ask what we were doing as we were taking a tree inventory. We also had help in identifying a few trees from a community member who was playing tennis at the time! Getting genuine interest was exciting and rewarding. The energy and enthusiasm that I saw during the mulching event was truly inspiring. Working with people who really care about the park trees was such a delight. The tree tour was a great opportunity to talk about the diversity in the park and answering questions from community members was a fun way to think about how trees differ and how they contribute to the urban forest as a whole!
Monika at one of the Tree Tour stops
Kristine: This has been an exciting project. I never imagined being part of a project like this. I’ve learned that when people want to make a difference, there will be people you can go to who can help you to make it happen. LEAF has helped our team throughout the project to ensure its success. I really enjoyed learning how to identify tree species in the park. It is also pretty exciting to be working with the organization, the park staff and other organizations such as the Beach Hill Tree Team. It is an amazing feeling to know that these people support this project. There might have been problems with finding time to gather people to plan the project as a team but communication through email and social media has helped us get through. I am pleased with the amount of people that came and have signed up to be an adopter of a tree at the park. I encourage people to care and get to know more about urban trees. It feels great to be part of a community that creates changes for a greater good.


Kristine (left) and Harnoor (right) discuss Norway maples

Harnoor: After learning about the urban forest of Toronto in the Tree Tenders workshop conducted by LEAF, it was a good opportunity to share that knowledge with the community. I am thankful to our mentors (LEAF staff) and my team mates who helped me explore the urban forest issues and their importance. It was great and encouraging to see the City Councillor support us during our event in the Fairmount Park. I really hope more and more people are made aware about our urban flora and fauna.
The Young Urban Forest Leaders Program and the Adopt-a-Park-Tree Program in Fairmount Park is supported by the City of Toronto Community Recreation Investment Program.
Monika, Kristine and Harnoor are participants in LEAF’s Young Urban Forest Leaders program.