Young Urban Forest Leaders “Spruce Up” Trees in Wychwood Barns Park

(May 29th, 2019, Toronto – For Immediate Release) Yesterday, community members joined LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) in an after -work celebration of the arrival of warm weather and longer days! Participants gathered at Wychwood Barns Park, 601 Christie St, Toronto, at 6:00 PM to explore the park and its trees through a guided tree tour. This was followed by the stewardship of park trees by placing mulch around the base in order to retain soil moisture during warm summer months.

This event is part of the 2019 Young Urban Forest Leaders (YUFL) Program, a training and mentorship program available to youths between 18 and 29 years old in the City of Toronto. This collaboration between LEAF and Park People is supported by funds from Every Tree Counts, a partnership between Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation and the City of Toronto. The YUFL program aims to provide hands-on experience to youths interested in the fields of arboriculture, urban forestry and community engagement.

“As a young person about to enter into the workforce, it’s not easy to break into the labour market. By becoming a Young Urban Forest Leader, participants are able to not only gain real-world experience but also start building their professional network,” says Lam Tran, graduate of the 2016 YUFL program and current Education Coordinator at LEAF.

The YUFL program allows LEAF to offer 14 youths weekly mentorship sessions as well as hands-on experience working with community groups to promote green infrastructure efforts throughout the city. The program runs from April through September and, by the end, the YUFL participants will independently develop and lead a tree tour and stewardship activity similar to the one that took place at Wychwood Barns Park yesterday.

“The reason we like to add mulch to trees as part of our YUFL events and our other LEAF community stewardship events is because it’s an easy and fun activity for people of all ages while being critical for the protection and sustainability of Toronto’s urban forest,” says Erin MacDonald, Community Program Manager at LEAF.

Woodchip mulch improves the health of trees by conserving water, adding organic matter to the soil and suppressing weeds. This added help is especially important for urban trees which face many stressors such as drought, pollution, vandalism and soil compaction.

Healthy urban trees offer health care benefits through shade, filtered air and cleaner waterways. Access to green spaces has also been positively linked with improved mood and physical and mental health. Trees also provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, supporting our urban ecosystems.

For more information on LEAF or the Young Urban Forest Leaders Program, visit



Caption: Learning about the trees at Wychwood Barns Park
Photo credit: © 2019 Erin MacDonald / LEAF
Caption: LEAF arborist, Brenna, leading the tree tour
Photo credit: © 2019 Lam Tran / LEAF
People pictured: Brenna Anstett
Caption: Giving Wychwood Barns Park’s trees some love, weeding before adding mulch
Photo credit: ©2019 Lam Tran / LEAF
People pictured: Leena, Wardah, Andrea, Emma
Caption: Post-mulching hands
Photo credit: © 2019 Erin MacDonald / LEAF



Erin MacDonald
Community Programs Manager, LEAF
416-413-9244 | erin[at]


Janet McKay
Executive Director, LEAF
416-413-9244 | janet[at]