Naturalizing York Region in King with Native Trees and Shrubs

KING, ON – May 18, 2023 – The Regional Municipality of York, the Township of King and LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) marked another milestone in their partnership to increase tree cover in York Region.

On Tuesday, May 16, LEAF was joined by almost 40 community members to plant over 500 native trees and shrubs in Ansnorveldt Park in the Township of King. Together, volunteers and staff converted land previously covered by turf of limited biodiversity value, into viable habitat for birds, pollinators and other wildlife. These naturalization efforts will help increase biodiversity and support residents’ physical and mental well-being. Trees also improve air quality, decrease stormwater runoff, increase property values and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The event was also an opportunity to celebrate the collective efforts of The Regional Municipality of York, The Township of King and LEAF to grow the urban forest canopy in York Region.

Since 2011, York Region’s support has resulted in over 17,000 trees and shrubs planted through LEAF’s Backyard Tree Planting Program and Community Planting events.

Over the past 20 years, York Region’s Greening Strategy has supported the planting of over 1.7 million trees. For more information on York Region’s Greening Strategy and how residents and other stakeholders can support environmental and sustainable initiatives, please visit

Community members can also join LEAF’s volunteer program to participate in future planting and stewardship activities. To learn more about this project or for ways to become involved, visit

Additional funding and in-kind support for this event was provided by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA).


“York Regional Council is committed to our Greening Strategy which supports a healthier, more resilient and sustainable natural environment and continues to enhance our green spaces. Since the Greening Strategy was first developed in 2001, we have made remarkable progress working together with partners like LEAF and our local municipalities to plant nearly 2 million trees and shrubs to broaden canopy and woodland cover. Every tree planted is a legacy for future generations, providing cleaner air and water, habitat for wildlife and mitigating impacts of climate change.”

-    Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and CEO, The Regional Municipality of York

“The Township of King has been working in partnership with LEAF for several years to grow King’s forest canopy by engaging community volunteers to help plant native trees and shrubs. Together, we will continue to reach our urban forest goals of increasing canopy cover and supporting biodiversity which will further improve our environment”

-    Kathryn McLellan, Environmental Stewardship Outreach Coordinator at the Township of King

“We are very proud to continue working with local municipalities to improve the urban forest in York Region by tree planting and stewardship on public lands. This work is essential to mitigating climate change, managing stormwater and increasing biodiversity. It is very rewarding for everyone involved to be able to engage with community members through our planting events to help make the urban forest healthier and more resilient."

-    Janet McKay, Executive Director, LEAF



Melissa Pinto – Corporate Communications Advisor
437-997-6821 |

Kathryn McLellan – Environmental Stewardship Outreach Coordinator, Community Services
905-833-6555 |

Justin Lewis – Marketing and Communications Lead
416-413-9244 |