The morning of Saturday August 26th was bright and sunny at Stephenson Park. Community members trickled in just before the event began at 11am. The Young Urban Forest Leaders: Laura, Sushmita and Jaspreet welcomed the group with short introductions.
Laura began the tree tour show casing the diverse tree species within the park, including honey locust, tulip tree, sugar maple, and Norway maple. Sushmita explained the best way to identify the tulip tree was through the unmistakably distinct shape of their leaves. Laura then guided the group to a couple of maple trees and explained the difference between the sugar maple and Norway maple.
Laura discussed the dangers of invasive species and highlighted their impacts on an ecosystem’s biodiversity and resilience. As an example, Jaspreet spoke about the Emerald Ash Borer, and how the invasive insect has been decimating the ash trees in and around Toronto.
The tour concluded with Laura and Jaspreet providing a mulching demonstration as Sushmita spoke about the benefits of mulching, stressing the importance of creating a “donut” shape as opposed to a “volcano” of mulch to improve soil, prevent lawnmower damage, and prevent moisture build-up that could cause the base of the tree to rot.
The excited audience jumped in to help care for the trees, and the seemingly endless pile of mulch quickly diminished as mulch was dispersed to all of the young trees in and around the park.
Tired, hot and feeling accomplished, everyone enjoyed some cold lemonade and snacks together while learning more about LEAF’s Adopt-a-Park-Tree Program and #BeesLoveTrees campaign. 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.
Thank you to all the volunteers and participants that made this event a success!
A message from the YUFLs:
This event would not have been possible without the continued support and guidance provided to us throughout the entire program by Erin, our LEAF Mentor, and LEAF itself. Thank you for providing us with training, workshops, and the necessary tools to be successful. And thank you to the program funders, City of Toronto, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and Ontario Power Generation!
We would also like to extend our gratitude to Catherine and Peter, the community leaders with the Friends of Stephenson Park, who supported our activities by helping with our event: they contributed amazing ideas, aided in distributing flyers, and allowed us to promote our tree tour at Stephenson Park’s Wednesday Night Live music events. Last but not least, we are thankful to the participants who were eager to learn about trees and help give some much needed stewardship to the neighborhood trees. If we inspired at least one person to learn more about trees or to care for trees, we consider our work a success.
Jaspreet, Laura, Sushmita, and Sydney are graduates of LEAF’s Young Urban Forest Leaders Program.
Photos taken by David Woodcock and Olga Eizhvertina
Our #BeesLoveTrees campaign is supported by Ontario Power Generation.