Tour explored trees and history of East York
July 28, 2014 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – On Sunday, July 27, 75 people joined Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) and local community group MoreTrees29 to explore the trees of Old East York. LEAF is a nonprofit organization that works across Toronto and York Region to protect and improve the urban forest through planting, education and stewardship programs.
MoreTrees29 is working to increase and protect the tree canopy in Toronto’s Ward 29 (Toronto-Danforth),connecting residents with available tree-planting programs and helping them get a free front yard tree from the City. Other initiatives include tree tours, tree-care education, neighbourhood tree information and adopt-a-tree programs. “I’m hoping that this walk helps raise awareness of the challenges experienced by trees in the urban forest and highlights what residents can do to grow and protect the urban canopy,” said Leigh Davidson, volunteer with MoreTrees29 and a co-leader of the tour.
The tour addressed the history of the area through its trees, many of which have been around for generations. Tour participants stopped at a stately, mature American elm tree that managed to survive the Dutch elm disease epidemic which killed most of the city’s elm trees fifty years ago. They heard about a Dutch-elm disease resistant cultivar, the Valley Forge, which LEAF recently beganplanting through its Backyard Tree Planting Program. The group learned about the town of Todmorden, founded here by early European settlersand situated on a sandy plain covered in oak trees. Some of those oaks still stand as large, beautiful trees shading the neighbourhood.
The tour also discussed several young trees, a result of a City planting effort in the neighbourhood and a schoolyard greening project, which are crucial to the long-term sustainability of the urban forest. A butterfly garden demonstrated the important role of perennials in the urban forest.
Participants visited William Burgess Public School, where many ash trees have been affected by the Emerald Ash Borer. “Eighteen per cent of trees on school property are ash, and are at risk of dying due to this invasive beetle,” said Robyn Stewart, Education & Outreach Coordinator at LEAF. “The Emerald Ash Borer could have a serious impact on the availability of shade on school property.”
“This tour celebrates of the history of East York and strengthens our understanding of our tree canopy and its important role in our future,” said Councillor Mary Fragedakis (Ward 29 Toronto-Danforth), who supported the tour. “I find these multi-disciplinary walks inspiring. They help generate the conversations that will allow us to work together to create a better tomorrow for all.”
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Education & Outreach Coordinator, LEAF
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