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Tree Planting in the Lower Thames Conservation District Contributes to Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program

Chatham, ON, May 23, 2008 – Trees Ontario, local planting partner Lower Thames Conservation and Pat Hoy, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Essex, hosted an official tree planting ceremony today in recognition of the important tree planting work that is being done across the province for the Ministry of Natural Resources’ 50 Million Tree Program.

In August 2007, the Ontario government introduced a program to plant 50 million trees by 2025, as part of its commitment to help fight climate change and green the province.

The 50 Million Tree Program is Ontario’s contribution to the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign, and is the single largest commitment made to date to this worldwide campaign.

The Ministry of Natural Resources is partnering with Trees Ontario, a not-for-profit organization, to deliver the first phase of this program. This spring, Trees Ontario’s partners will plant a total of 1.2 million trees for the program, mostly on rural privately owned land.

“Today’s tree planting activity, and ones like it right across southern Ontario demonstrate that we can and will meet the 50 million target,” said the Hon. Donna Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources. “This is an example of how Ontario landowners are joining the battle to reduce our greenhouse gases and helping green our province.”

“I am very pleased to participate in today’s event,” said Pat Hoy, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Essex. “This demonstrates that everyone in our community can help in the important battle against climate change. More than 8,200 trees been planted in this area over the past year with assistance from Trees Ontario and Lower Thames Conservation, and many more can and will be planted in the years ahead.”

Participants in today’s tree planting event had a first-hand opportunity to see how large-scale tree planting is being done. This scale of planting not only helps to capture carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, but also contributes to the protection of our watersheds and the diversification of our landscape. One healthy mature tree releases enough oxygen back in the atmosphere to support two human beings for one year.

50 Million Tree Program

In August 2007, the Ontario Government introduced a program to fund the planting of 50 million trees across the province by 2025, as part of their commitment to help fight climate change and green the province.

This is the most ambitious program of its kind in North America and is Ontario’s commitment to the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign by 2008/09.

In the first phase of the program, the Ministry of Natural Resources will partner with Trees Ontario as the delivery agent for the ministry.

The goal of the program is to sequester carbon, enhance and diversify southern Ontario’s landscape, increase adaptive capacity to withstand climate change, moderate local climate by providing shade, moderating temperature extremes and reducing the effects of storms, increase wildlife habitat, increase soil and water conservation, and provide local economic opportunities.

The new program is designed to significantly reduce landowner’s costs of large-scale tree planting and thereby increase the number of trees planted.

Trees Ontario will work with local tree planting agencies in Ontario, including regional Conservation Authorities and local Ontario Stewardship councils to implement this new program, as well as continuing to work with these agencies on its ongoing tree plant subsidy programs.

Planting agencies will work directly with landowners to determine site eligibility, allocate funding and coordinate planting.