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Living Green Barrie’s tree-planting campaign eyes quality over quantity

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In Barrie
Nov 15th, 2021
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From BarrieToday, November 12, 2021
By BarrieToday Staff

Living Green is committed to planting 10,000 native trees in Barrie for climate change and, thanks to some city councillors and the TD Friends of the Environment Fund, that goal just got closer.

Having a healthy cover of trees in an urban environment such as Barrie is vital to tackle current and forecasted changes due to climate change. Urban trees sequester carbon, provide shade, and mitigate flooding. They beautify, they clean air and water, they keep us healthy, and they can increase the value of our homes. The question is never should we plant more trees, rather, where, and how should we do it?

Living Green Barrie is introducing a new planting program that addresses both questions; where can we plant more trees in a city where land is at a premium for development, and how do we plant them and care for them to make sure that they can one day grow into a mature tree?

Working with city parks and forestry staff, potential planting sites have been identified across Barrie on public land — parks, parkettes and Environmental Protection (EP) areas. These are sites that aren’t being used for sports or other recreational activities but are also not too close to current or planned infrastructure.

The planting program is called the Neighbourhood Tree Stewards and invitations are sent out to the direct neighbours of the sites by their councillors to participate in the planting and tending of the newly planted trees.

“The great part of having the trees planted by the next-door neighbours is that they may take a bit of ownership and care for them during those vital early years while the baby trees are still trying to set root and get established,” says Andee Pelan, Living Green’s director and arborist.

Planting trees in an urban environment is much trickier than in rural areas where large amounts of small plug seedlings are planted off the back of machines like a farm crop. In cities, you need to contend with pavement and buildings, compacted and poor-quality soils, road salt, and a lack of irrigation. Urban trees are harder and more expensive to plant and have a more difficult time growing to maturity.

Last week, Living Green piloted the program with Couns. Ann-Marie Kungl, Barry Ward and Jim Harris planting a total of 125 trees on three sites. Volunteers were shown proper planting and mulching techniques and a great deal of discussion was had about root development and after-care requirements. Emphasis was placed on quality planting rather than quantity.

Living Green was successful in securing a grant through the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation to complete 10 more of these neighbourhood plantings in 2022. Working with the 10 ward councillors, one event will be planned for each ward in either the spring or fall.

Living Green’s 10,000 Trees for Barrie campaign is underway and they have planted 2,998 trees to date. A donation of $25 to this campaign buys one planted tree by this registered charitable organization. To donate, click here.

Living Green Barrie’s mission is to guide people toward actions that foster sustainability and climate change resiliency in our community.

For more information or to get involved with Living Green, please visit their website and follow them on social media.

Read the article here

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