Matthew Higginson's posts

Turning Over a New Leaf

I started with LEAF back in 2008 as a volunteer. I can remember sitting down with Janet in the Bathurst Street office – an old converted warehouse filled with filing cabinets, old desks, pieces of wood and a modest team. There was Liza, the Volunteer Coordinator who was cool and organized. Todd with his great sense of humour and a personality that just made you want to be around him and learn as much as you could. They invited me out on a subzero night to attend their annual fundraiser and in the brightly lit Gladstone ballroom, I found a group that seemed to all be on the same page.

"And flourish green o'er freedom's home"

…Or so the song goes. But what can you make out of the leaves and branches once they’ve flourished green for the last time? This was the question put to four talented designers. And we were impressed by what they came back with for our exhibit in the Toronto Design Offsite Festival. Brothers Dressler, Dystil, The National Design Collective and Paus + Grün all donated their time to LEAF and our work for the urban forest. And with it they each brought a unique perspective on design, repurposing salvaged wood and the symbolism of the Maple Leaf Forever tree.

Walking with Giants

The air was crisp and the trees dotting the streetscape were soaking up the bright rays of sun when I arrived at the corner of Bloor Street West and Avenue Road one Sunday morning this September. LEAF volunteer Sarah met me there and we soon began to take registrations and collect donations for the Heritage Tree Tour. Philip van Wassenaer -- a man who seems to know all things when it comes to trees, and our leader for this tour – joined us, and with the sounds of the city all around, we were ready to take a stroll and learn about Toronto’s natural history.

Photo of the Month: The Tree Warrior

Do you think this tree could use some friends? This Photo of the Month is an eerie shot of a tree all alone. At first it may not exactly scream “urban forest,” but as the distant horizon, dotted with treetops, comes into view, it strikes me as a vanguard – a tree creeping ahead of the pack.

Vote for LEAF as Toronto’s Best Enviro Group

This year we’ve been selected to be in the running for Toronto’s Best Enviro Group in NOW Magazine’s Best Of. And if you’re familiar with LEAF, you know we can be pretty stubborn when it comes to certain things. We’re no good at leaving trees to fend for themselves. We spend time making sure they have what they need – space, mulch, water… And we have a terrible habit of leaving behind habitat wherever we go. This photo highlights the transformation that can occur when we bring together the right tools, the right people and the expertise.