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Ninth annual County tree plant sees record breaking numbers

County of BrantNinth annual County tree plant sees record breaking numbers

Over 200 residents attended the Brant Tree Coalition’s (BTC) ninth annual County of Brant Community Tree Plant held at Jacob’s Woods Park in St. George on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

The event, held in collaboration with the Brant Waterways Foundation and the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), attracted a record-breaking 209 volunteers that came out to help plant a total of 475 trees and shrubs from the Burford Tree Nursery.

Trent Meyers, Forestry Technician for the County of Brant, said that he was happy to see the community show up and help out.

“It feels great to have a record tree plant this year and it really just shows the support and the community involvement that St. George residents have,” he said. “We’re super impressed that the community showed up and now we know that for future events like these in St. George, we need to be ready with even more greenery on hand.”

Volunteers make their way to the planting area during the ninth annual County of Brant community tree plant on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Photo courtesy Tom Wilson.

Upon arrival, student volunteers from Paris District High School provided a short history about the park and the BTC, as well as providing bug spray, information on ticks, shovels and gloves to those who needed them.

Before getting their hands in the dirt, attendees headed to the planting area for step-by-step instructions on how to properly plant a tree for optimal success.

One youngster works hard to plant a tree during the ninth annual County of Brant community tree plant on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Photo courtesy Tom Wilson.

Chuck Beach, a BTC event organizer, said that during the event, the volunteers were specifically planting a variety of native trees and shrubs as its necessary to help maintain the ecosystem in the area.

“The reason we use native trees is because they have been growing in this region since the last ice age and the native animals and insects have developed to benefit the most from those species as far as homes and food goes,” he said.

Meyers added part of the work done during the event was infilling the areas in the park that have been previously affected by the Emerald Ash Borer and taken out. He said that by planting a diverse range of native tree species, it helps to ensure the growth of a healthy tree canopy ( the layer of tree leaves, branches and stems that cover the ground when viewed from above.) throughout the community.

“It’s incredibly important to make sure that we’re continuing to increase diversity of tree species because as we’ve experienced things like the Emerald Ash Borer and other tree diseases, having a lack of diversity means that we can lose canopy tree cover very quickly if something were to happen,” he said. “Increasing the diversity in the tree canopy is really used as a way to really help mitigate global warming in a changing and expanding community like this one and ultimately, having a diversity of tree species means we have a diversity of other species in general like animals, birds and insects.”

Volunteers of all ages begin to break ground during the ninth annual County of Brant community tree plant on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Photo courtesy Tom Wilson.

Beach said in the coming years, Brantford is expected to be one of the ten hottest cities in Canada and that preserving the tree canopy can help mitigate the effects of global warming in the surrounding communities.

“Right now, the tree canopy of Brantford is at 21.5 per cent and the County is at about 26 per cent, and those are lower than they should be,” he said. “While there are lots of ways to help reduce those rising temperatures, one of the best and easiest things to do is plant a tree and it’s something that almost anyone could do.”

The St. George Lions Club prepares to serve up a hot barbeque lunch during the ninth annual County of Brant community tree plant on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Photo courtesy Tom Wilson.

As stated in the City of Brantford Tree Canopy Fact Sheet, urban tree canopies are important community assets that help mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Some of the many benefits of urban trees include: sequestering carbon and providing clean air to breathe, providing shade to protect from harmful UV rays and cool ground temperatures, as well as helping to reduce energy consumption for low-rise buildings,” the document explained. As well, “helping manage stormwater and flooding, providing natural habitats for native species of animals, birds, and insects, as well as creating an aesthetic, liveable environment that increases property values by up to 30 per cent.”

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