Media Release

LEAF celebrates National Tree Day planting 300 trees in Marita Payne Park


September 24, 2014 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – LEAF, with the help of approximately 75 PowerStream employees, planted over 300 native trees and shrubs in Vaughan’s Marita Payne Park this morning to celebrate National Tree Day. The ice storm and Emerald Ash Borer have caused the death of countless Vaughan trees in the past year.

“With the devastation wrought by last winter’s ice storm, and 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 funding partners, LEAF is able to offer residents convenient, accessible and affordable ways to do their part to improve our urban forest and our environment.”

Vaughan’s canopy cover was estimated at 17 per cent in York Region’s 2012 Urban Forest Study -- that’s below the City’s ideal range of 20 to 25 per cent.

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. The program is supported by York Region, Ontario Power Generation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Residents can help spread the word about Emerald Ash Borer by becoming an EAB Ambassador with LEAF’s training sessions. Ambassadors receive training on the effects of EAB and what residents’ options are for their ash trees. LEAF provides ambassadors with educational materials and support to help them reach out to friends, neighbours and community groups.

For more information on LEAF’s Backyard Tree Planting and Emerald Ash Borer Ambassador programs, visit

Representatives from the City of Vaughan, York Region, PowerStream, Ontario Power Generation, Ontario Trillium Foundation and Ontario Streams were in attendance at the planting event to share their enthusiasm for the urban forest.

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.

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 as well as its educational programs including tree tours, public presentations and workshops.

A leading grant-maker in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. The Ontario Trillium Foundation supports the improvement of LEAF’s programs across Toronto and York Region and supports efforts to increase the long-term sustainability of the organization.

As outlined in the 2012 report, Expanding the Urban Forest – One Tree at a Time, the City of Vaughan aims to engage the community, individual residents and the private business sector in order to increase the number of trees planted annually in the community. The City of Vaughan was a key partner in today’s event, and supports LEAF by encouraging residents to use our subsidized program to plant new trees on their properties.

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. As Marita Payne Park is situated in the flood plain area of the upper West Don, Ontario Streams provided their expertise in developing the planting plan for the day, selecting native tree species that will thrive alongside the stream that flows through the park.

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. Visit




Melissa Williams
Residential Planting Programs Manager, LEAF
416-413-9244 x11 (Office) | 647-832-5935 (Cell)


Janet McKay
Executive Director, LEAF
416-419-9244 x17 (Office) | 647-883-5777 (Cell)


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