(October 16, 2015 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) Yesterday morning, LEAF was joined by 50 intermediate students from Lake Simcoe Public School in Thornlodge Park, where they planted 150 native trees and shrubs.
Healthy urban trees provide preventative health care benefits through shade, filtered air and cleaner waterways (including beautiful Lake Simcoe). When planted strategically, they also reduce energy costs, increase property value and offer privacy.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive insect that attacks and kills all species of ash trees, poses a serious threat to York Region’s urban forest. Ash trees are widespread on public and private properties throughout Georgian, accounting for 19 per cent of the Town's tree population.
To mitigate the effects of this invasive pest, we must work together to plant more trees and work toward increasing the canopy cover. It is key that we select a variety of native species (other than ash) when replanting, as a biodiverse urban forest provides essential habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, and is more resilient to pests and diseases. Planting trees and holding events like this make an important contribution towards rebuilding our vital resource, while inspiring the next generation of urban forest stewards to take action as well.
“With more than 700,000 ash trees in York Region’s urban areas at risk of death due to the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle, planting new trees is more important than ever,” said Janet McKay, Executive Director, LEAF. “Thanks to our supporting partners, LEAF is able to offer residents convenient, accessible and affordable ways to do their part to improve our urban forest and our environment.”
LEAF’s Backyard Tree Planting Program provides York Region residents with a native tree, consultation and planting services from a professional staff arborist, all for one low subsidized price. A Do-It-Yourself version of the program is also available for those who wish to plant their own trees.
Representatives from York Region, Town of Georgina and Ontario Streams were in attendance at the planting event. These partners share LEAF’s enthusiasm for enhancing biodiversity and protecting the urban forest throughout the Region.
As part of its Greening Strategy, the Regional Municipality of York encourages and supports stewardship and environmental enhancement on private land through tree planting. The Region has partnered with LEAF since 2006 and now offers the subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program to all York Region Residents.
The Town of Georgina was a key partner in yesterday’s event, and supports LEAF by encouraging residents to use the organization’s subsidized program to plant new trees on their properties.
With 99.7 per cent of its electricity free of smog and greenhouse gas emissions, Ontario Power Generation is committed to protecting biodiversity and to reducing the impact of its operations on the environment. Ontario Power Generation supports LEAF’s Backyard Tree Planting Program.
Ontario Streams, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of streams and wetlands through education and community involvement, also partnered with LEAF for this event. Ontario Streams provided their expertise in developing the planting plan for the day, selecting native tree species that will thrive in Thornlodge Park.
For more information on LEAF’s Backyard Tree Planting program visit www.yourleaf.org
Interviews available upon request.
Program Manager, LEAF
416-413-9244 x 11 or 647-832-5935 (cell)
Executive Director, LEAF
416-413-9244 x17 or 647-883-5777 (cell)
LEAF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest. We make it easy for you to plant, care and give.