As autumn sets in, LEAF is wrapping up its third year of the Toronto Community Housing (TCH) Planting and Stewardship Initiative which is funded in part by the City of Toronto's Urban Forestry Grant. And, I am wrapping up my contract as Stewardship Assistant! I wanted to take this moment to share my experience monitoring the trees planted in 2018 and 2019, connecting with TCH tenants and learning about the value of planting trees in low-income communities.
COVID-19 may have stopped us from meeting in-person, but it sparked new ways of connecting and engaging with each other. To celebrate National Tree Day on September 23, 2020, we hosted a free virtual tree tour of Lake Wilcox Park, located in Richmond Hill.
Planting native trees and shrubs on public lands has many long-term benefits, including increasing essential habitat for local wildlife. To ensure our efforts are successful, we’ll be monitoring the impact of our tree planting events on plant biodiversity over time. Thanks to support from Ontario Power Generation’s Regional Biodiversity Program, we can assess each site as it establishes itself and adaptively improve our future naturalization efforts when needed.
This fall, LEAF staff and volunteers have begun planting native trees and shrubs in York Region as part of a larger, three-year project to increase biodiversity on public lands in York and Durham Regions. Among project activities are planting 6,000 native trees and shrubs, monitoring sites before and after planting and engaging local community members. These activities are made possible in part, thanks to support from Ontario Power Generation’s Regional Biodiversity Program.
If I asked you to close your eyes right now and picture a tree, what would it look like? Can you describe it: Its size, its shape and its leaves? My brain-tree looks like a pine, and there’s a very good reason for that. It’s also the secret reason that I wanted to join the Young Urban Forest Leaders (YUFL) Program. But to understand why my brain-tree is a pine, and why that made me want to spend a summer learning about urban forestry, I have to tell you a little story.