Forests Ontario

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Ontario’s First 50 Million Tree Weekend A Resounding Success

TORONTO, May 9, 2009 – Ontarians will be waking up to a greener province tomorrow thanks to many individuals and families who celebrated Mother’s Day weekend at Ontario’s first ever 50 Million Tree Weekend.

Beginning in Alliston, Guelph and Mississauga Friday May 8 and finishing in Whitchurch-Stouffville (near Newmarket) and Kingston May 9, communities have planted thousands of trees during the weekend’s various local tree planting events.

Over the next six weeks, Trees Ontario is expected to plant approximately two million trees as part of the Ontario government’s 50 Million Tree program, which will see 50 million trees planted in southern Ontario by 2025. This is the single largest commitment to the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign aimed at planting one billion trees worldwide each year.

Donna Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources, attended the Whitchurch-Stouffville event May 9 along with members from the Boys and Girls Clubs, York Region, Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation, local community and environmental groups and residents.

“It was great to see so many families together planting trees on Mother’s Day weekend,” said Cansfield.  “It is important that Ontarians continue to support local tree planting initiatives and for all of us to continue to do our part to help green up the province, fight climate change and leave a lasting legacy for future generations. It’s easy to plant a tree – anyone can do it!”

In addition to tree planting activities at the Whitchurch-Stouffville event, the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation helped to host a tree seed activity, where participants could learn more about seed identification, collection and planting on the Moraine. Individuals were even able to plant their own seeds to take home and grow to further support the 50 Million Tree Weekend.

Tree Ontario planting partners and forestry experts were onsite at all events offering short tree planting tutorials to teach everyone the five easy steps to planting a tree: dig the hole, place the tree in the hole, fill the remaining part of the hole with soil, stomp down to compress the soil, and place mulch around the tree base.

Trees Ontario created the 50 Million Tree Weekend following an overwhelming response to free tree planting workshops it hosted last fall and winter. From those workshops, Trees Ontario secured a significant number of tree planting commitments for this spring and wanted to make it even easier for Ontarians to be aware of the program and take part in greening the province.

“We are delighted by the success of the inaugural 50 Million Tree Weekend and how Ontarians have embraced the importance and need to plant trees,” said Michael Scott, President and CEO of Trees Ontario.  “By the end of May, with our partners, we will have planted more than two million trees for this program, which is a great start to our goal of planting 50 million trees by the year 2025.”

Supporters of the 50 Million Tree Weekend included Home Depot (Alliston), TD Friends of the Environment and Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation (Whitchurch-Stoufville). In kind supporters included Starbucks (Whitchurch-Stoufville), Tim Hortons (Kingston) and Hain Celestial (all events).

To find out more information about the 50 Million Tree Weekend, visit: www.50milliontreeweekend.com.

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 its commitment to help fight climate change and green the province.

The 50 Million Tree Program is Ontario’s commitment to the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign. The program is also the most ambitious program of its kind in North America and the largest goal of any jurisdiction, anywhere.

The 50 Million Tree Program can significantly cut landowners’ costs of large-scale tree planting and boost the number of trees planted.