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.
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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.
In recent months, online events have become the rule, rather than the exception. COVID-19 brought unimaginable changes to the way we all connect with each other and, to adapt, LEAF went virtual. In my journey to re-imagine how the in-person Wychwood Barns Park tree tour could be done online, new and exciting ways of engaging with people emerged.
Trees not only look great, but provide plenty of highly valued services for people! In 2019, we planted nearly 75 trees in Toronto Community Housing (TCH) communities and have quantified the benefits these trees will provide throughout their lives. While 75 new trees provide $108 worth of benefits in the first year of planting, by year 75, this cumulative value will reach $81,000!
Sammy Tangir is an outdoor educator and an alumnus of the Young Urban Forest Leaders program. For Sammy, learning never stopped, and she has continued to pursue her passions, learning all she can about trees. Today, she’s a self-published author of a number of plant identification guides and an avid nature photographer, interests that were spurred on after her time as a Young Urban Forest Leader.