The event was more than a tree tour of the park; it also launched the park’s new Adopt-A-Park-Tree program. We aimed to lead an interesting tree tour while informing attendees on the importance of Guild Park's urban forest and how they can help preserve it. It took a lot of planning and coordination!
The Guild Park YUFL team members [from left to right: Laura, Denyse, Jenna and Karla]
First, John Mason, President of the Friends of Guild Park and Gardens, gave a warm welcome to the local city councillor, Paul Ainslie. Councillor Ainslie ceremoniously opened the park’s new forest boardwalk and thus began our tour. Soon enough, we were joined by over 100 participants!
Tree tour along the boardwalk
Throughout the tour, we discussed invasive species; forest succession; and how the area’s soil structure leads to more trees being prone to damage during storms. We also discussed the history of the park and its recent revitalization. Its vibrant culture and friendly atmosphere is due, in large part, to the efforts of the Friends of Guild Park group!
Emerald Ash Borer samples
While we perused the trees, we gave participants tips and tricks for identifying different species using bark and leaf structure characteristics. We also pointed to examples of urban tree stressors and spoke on why this can cause tree damage.
Laura teaching us how to identify the different trees in the park
During the event, we introduced the new Adopt-A-Park-Tree program and encouraged interested community members to commit to caring for one of the park’s trees. At the end of the tour, we performed a small demonstration on what that involves. We showed how to mulch and water trees and provided equipment for the adopters. There were some very enthusiastic community members! Afterwards, attendees could explore the community booths, acquire native plants and register for Adopt-A-Park-Tree.
The Butterflyway Project, Kelly’s Tree Care “Ask-An-Arborist” and the event partners had booths setup, whilst LEAF and Friends of Guild Park volunteers were giving away native shrubs and perennials. We even discovered that some milkweed plants in the giveaway had monarch caterpillars on them and made sure to give them to responsible owners! Overall, the participants were delighted to interact with volunteers and receive information about the native plants they were taking home.
Community members perusing the native plants and shrubs available
We are so thankful to have had our community event at Guild Park, as the community and volunteers are extremely engaged. We encourage you to go visit the park even if you live outside of Scarborough. And, if you do live in Scarborough, contact the Friends of Guild Park to Adopt-A-Park-Tree!
Denyse van Opbergen, Laura Mantin, Karla Aguilar and Jenna Hinds 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.