We are Natalie, Jessica, Vivian and Noa and we were all eager to share our passion and knowledge with the P.I.N.E. Project, an organization dedicated to bringing the wonders of the natural world to urban-dwelling kids and youth.
Noa, Jessica, Vivian and Natalie mulching a tree in Etienne Brule Park!
Together we set out to develop an Adopt-a-Park Tree program that would foster stewardship and learning at Etienne Brule for years and years to come. How, you ask? By having camp counsellors adopt trees throughout the park! In turn, the incoming young and enthusiastic campers will be given the opportunity to take care of the adopted trees as they cycle through the programming, picking up the knowledge and inspiration passed onto them by their counsellors/tree adopters.
The day started with a tree tour, where P.I.N.E. campers learned all about the wonders of the urban forest, including why urban trees are important, how to identify them, and how to care for them. Councillor Sarah Doucette joins us to kick-off our tree tour with some encouraging words, offering her gratitude and highlighting the importance of tending to Toronto’s urban forest.
YUFL Natalie and Councilor Doucette.
LEAF also hosted a ‘#BeesLoveTrees’ info booth to raise awareness about the native species of trees and shrubs that our native bees love. Bees play a crucial role in our ecosystem. The native bee population has been negatively affected by disease, pesticide use, climate change, and habitat loss. We need everyone to speak out for bees and help protect our best pollinators. Check out our Bees Love Trees page for more information.
P.I.N.E. Staff, YUFL team and LEAF Staff
The young campers came to life with excitement, offering up thoughtful questions and demonstrating their interest in the urban canopy. They learned about the differences between deciduous and coniferous trees, the important role that urban trees play in urban ecosystems the basics of urban tree care and the importance of native species. They even learned to identify spruce trees, maples, and oaks!
P.I.N.E. participants on the tree tour
After the tour (and some delicious snacks), the mulching began! The campers worked hard filling buckets from the huge mulch pile and mulching over 20 young trees in the park! With all the teamwork the mulch pile was gone in no time. Most importantly, campers learned about the value of caring for trees in the park in order to help them grow strong and tall.
P.I.N.E Campers enthusiastically mulching park trees!
It’s exciting that six young trees have already been adopted by P.I.N.E. councillors! Everyone is looking forward to adopting the new young trees that will be planted in Etienne Brule Park in the upcoming months. Thank you to everyone who helped make this event a success!
Natalie Secen, Jessica Walker, Vivian Yip, and Noa Friedman are graduates of LEAF’s Young Urban Forest Leaders Program.
Photos taken by Alan Li.
Our #BeesLoveTrees campaign is supported by Ontario Power Generation.