The Power of Trees

Trees calm and trees focus. Trees improve our moods, they brighten our environment, and they add music to our day. Trees are all around us and their subliminal benefits make the greatest impact; they can be a gateway to a stronger connection with nature. But they can also be a gateway to a stronger connection with ourselves and our communities. Tree adopters in the Bloordale neighbourhood have been noticing these benefits themselves, and the voice of the trees speaks good news for the community.

 

In an area with nearly a 100% adoption rate, Bloordale’s trees are perking up with their newfound care. Their leaves are a bit greener, their trunks a bit stronger, and their presence is more pronounced. But the air that rustles the leaves on these trees is stirring in other ways too, and residents and businesses are to thank for this. The Bloordale Adopt-a-Street-Tree project has been in place since 2016 when locals took up the cause to care for their street trees.

Raechel, a resident in the area, adopted a Linden tree earlier this year and has been committed to caring for it since then. There’s a certain fulfillment, she says, in seeing the street more beautiful than it was before. “Nurturing a living thing is a rewarding and meditative activity,” Raechel comments.

Raechel earlier this year on the Bloordale Tree Tour.

 

Indeed, the small act of caring for something beyond our immediate self is meditative in itself – the mindfulness and concern for another’s wellbeing can separate us from the anxieties and uncertainties that can regularly pester our thoughts. It is like a holiday for our minds, even for a moment or two.

Beyond the personal benefits experienced by adopters, there is greater connection between them and their community. Sarah, another local resident, finds it an easy way to engage with the locals. “It helps me make connections with people at the businesses in front of my tree,” Sarah remarks. She also noted that when she sees a business showing commitment to a tree, she is considerably more likely to want to frequent that business and support the good they are doing in the community.

Tree Tags help identify tree species and their caretakers!

 

Although tree tending is merely a small piece in the community engagement puzzle, these adopters’ care reinforces the idea that small actions can collectively make a difference. Like a pebble falling in a pond, one person’s care for a vital part of their community will be followed by wave after wave of community innovation and improvement.

 “A healthier tree contributes to a healthier neighbourhood,” comments Sharon and John, adopted parents of a leafy basswood. That is a sure thing – lush trees add character to any space, and a healthy neighbourhood is created by vibrant character.

Standing and working together towards a common goal, be it through tree adoption or investing in public art, creating bonds between neighbours can turn a landscape into an artscape and make life so much richer for it.

 

The success and health of the Bloordale street trees would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, the Bloordale Community Improvement Association and the Bloordale BIA.

Bloordale AAST volunteers Dan, Emily, and Rui!

 

To learn more about the Bloordale Adopt-a-Street-Tree Project click here.

If you are interested in learning more about street tree stewardship and how to help trees in your own community, join LEAF on Tuesday October 10th from 6:30p.m. - 8:00p.m. for a fun and informative gathering of street tree stewards from across Toronto! 

 

Aidan is LEAF’s Programs Assistant.

 

LEAF’s Adopt-a-Street-Tree Program is undertaken in partnership with the City of Toronto and supported by Live Green Toronto and the Canadian TREE Fund.