Michael Taylor self-identifies as an “apartment kid” who didn’t have access to a backyard growing up. Now as an adult, raising a family of his own, this Urban Forest Champion is committed to providing his kids with the perfect outdoor space. And, no backyard is complete without the addition of native trees and shrubs!
Meet Paul Zhang, a Markham resident and Urban Forest Champion! Nine years ago, Paul and his family moved to a new development. Their new house and the life they built were great! But, one thing was missing: backyard trees.
When Cynthia Brown moved into her Toronto home in 2012, she described the backyard as a neglected rectangle of dirt and weeds. This Urban Forest Champion saw this as an opportunity to create the backyard of her dreams, an outdoor extension of her home full of native species. Eight years later, her backyard is all that and more!
Being a young adult is a time of tremendous growth, both personally and professionally, as people move into “the real world.” Navigating this transition can be difficult, particularly for underrepresented individuals looking to enter a field dominated by other demographic groups. LEAF developed the Young Urban Forest Leaders (YUFL) program to support underrepresented young folks who are at the beginning of their careers in urban forestry. Funded in part by the City of Toronto through an Urban Forestry Grant, this program sets participants up to be in the driver’s seat of their own career.
As part of the Toronto Community Housing (TCH) Planting and Stewardship Initiative, funded in part by the City of Toronto through an Urban Forestry Grant, Janice Lam, LEAF Program Assistant, and I delivered 247 native shrubs to 15 TCH properties in late September. Before these fun-filled delivery days, we hosted a virtual shrub care training session for TCH tenants. The tenants, both new and seasoned urban forest stewards, will be helping native woody plants survive and thrive on TCH properties!