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Hundreds attend 11th annual City tree-planting event

Local NewsHundreds attend 11th annual City tree-planting event

Well over 200 residents attended the Brant Tree Coalition’s (BTC) 11th annual City of Brantford Community Tree Plant held at Brier Park on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

The event, held in collaboration with the Brant Waterways Foundation and the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), attracted volunteers of all ages who came out to plant over 1,000 native trees and shrubs from the Burford Tree Nursery.

Pauline Johnson’s e3 class and various volunteers pose for a photo during the City of Brantford’s community tree planting event on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

Upon arrival, student volunteers from Pauline Johnson’s e3 program provided a short history about the park, the BTC and the event, before giving step-by-step instructions on how to properly plant a tree for the best results.

“Our goal for today is to plant 1,000 native tree species which have been growing in this geographic area since the last ice age. We’re really working with everyone here to try to grow these specific trees because they are the ones that are most beneficial to the animals, insects and people who are living here,” said Yusuf Aburkhes, a Grade 12 e3 student. “To successfully plant a tree, first you need measure out the size of the hole and how big it needs to be based on the size of the roots. Next, dig out your hole, put the tree in and fill it up with soil so its level with the earth. Lastly, we want to put a circle of mulch around the tree, ideally not touching the bark directly because we don’t want it to rot. Once that’s finished, we water it and move on to our next tree.”

Lisa and Howard Webster show off one the many trees they planted during the City of Brantford’s community tree planting event on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

Tom Sitak, the now retired teacher who started PJ’s e3 program, said that he was happy to see how many of the students were able to make it to the event.

“The students learn about this stuff in their classroom, but getting them outside and doing things like this, gives them an opportunity to practice what they’re learning and not only that, but also to do something good for their community,” he said. “All of that really helps them to build confidence, it gives them a sense of pride, a sense of citizenry, and it’s a way to demonstrate what they’re learning in the real world. The kids don’t even realize it, but when they’re older adults 20 years from now, maybe they’ll have families and they’ll walk through here and they can say ‘hey, I planted that tree right there.’ It’s just great to have them involved.”

Elsa de Blieck, Caitlyn Shields, Yusuf Aburkhes, Tristan Barkley, Avery Russell and Kayla Silverthorne, Grade 11 and 12 students from Pauline Johnson’s e3 program, pose for a photo during the City of Brantford’s community tree planting event on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

Sitak noted that planting trees is just one way to reduce the impact of climate change, and that it’s something almost anyone can do.

“The biggest thing is climate change because trees do several very important things. One, they provide shade and in an urban city like ours, it’s like a heat island because of all the asphalt rooftops and the pavement, so it’s just sucking the heat downwards and we need that shade relief,” he said. “The second important reason is that trees are huge plants and they sequester a lot of carbon. When we drive down the road and burn that carbon, the trees suck it right back in. Another is water and soil, right? because the roots are going to absorb extra water and help to prevent flooding, all while preventing the erosion of soil.”

One couple works to pack in the soil around their tree during the City of Brantford’s community tree planting event on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

For Lisa and Howard Webster, this year was their second time attending the City’s tree planting event, and the two noted that they were excited that it was happening in their very own neighbourhood. 

“I’m just loving this,” said Lisa. “It’s really great for the environment and the neighbourhood and I’m just looking forward to walking through this park, seeing the fruits of our labour and watching these trees grow throughout the years. I don’t know what it is, but it just feels really special.”

One youngster prepares to lower a tree into the ground during the City of Brantford’s community tree planting event on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

The event was just one of three held throughout the week as the BTC also arranged for 475 trees to be planted during the ninth annual tree plant for the County last Saturday, as well as another event on Monday, April 22 with roughly 500 students helping to plant 2,000 trees at the Brant Conservation Area.

Sasha Antoszewski and Emma price, students in Pauline Johnson’s e3 program, work together to finish planting their last tree of the day during the City of Brantford’s community tree planting event on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

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