Media Release

LEAF Defends Against Emerald Ash Borer

Program aims to replace trees and maintain urban forest health in York Region.

Emerald Ash Borer in York Region

(September 5, 2013, Toronto, ON – For immediate release) Millions of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in The Regional Municipality of York are at risk of dying due to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).  To minimize the impact of EAB on the urban forest, LEAF and York Region have partnered to implement an EAB Ambassador Program. The goal of the program is to empower residents to take action in their own communities through treatment of existing healthy ash trees and planting of new trees.


“Many people don’t know if they have any ash trees in their neighbourhood or yard. This program gives them to tools to identify ash trees and understand what options are available,” said Janet McKay, Executive Director of LEAF. 


Through workshops as well as various online resources, the LEAF EAB Ambassador Program equips volunteers with the information needed to spread the message about EAB, as well as options for treatment and replanting.  The volunteer Ambassador's role is to inform neighbours and friends through social media, speaking at community meetings or dropping informative postcards door-to-door.   Residents of York Region are encouraged to sign up as EAB Ambassadors by visiting


“Planting new trees of diverse species is crucial in our fight against EAB. And we shouldn’t wait for the ash to disappear – planting now in available spaces will give us a head-start in addressing the inevitable loss of ash trees,” concluded McKay.


To make it easy and affordable, LEAF offers a Backyard Tree Planting Program, offering a variety of native trees and shrubs at a subsidized price. By encouraging citizen action and a wide range of appropriate species, LEAF and York Region hope to strengthen the resilience of the urban forest for the future.


Healthy urban trees provide preventative health care benefits through shade, filtered air and cleaner waterways. When planted strategically, they also reduce energy costs, increase property value and offer privacy. Trees also provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, supporting our urban ecosystems.


LEAF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest and engages citizens in urban forest stewardship through planting, education and training. Since 1996 LEAF has helped citizens plant over 19,000 native trees and shrubs in their neighbourhoods. Native and edible garden kits are also available through the program. LEAF is supported by York Region, Markham’s Trees for Tomorrow Fund and Ontario Power Generation. 


Photo opportunities / interviews with course instructors and participants available upon request. 




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