Forests Ontario

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Hopes as High as the Tallest Tree

Posted: June 6, 2017

by Kaitlyn and Lauren Grierson, Founders of TreesCO2 and Ambassadors of the Green Leaf Challenge 

Kaitlin & Lauren at Forests Ontario’s 2017 Community Planting Weekend.


As ambassadors of the Ontario Green Leaf Challenge, we happily encourage Ontario citizens to plant a tree in honour of Ontario’s and Canada’s 150th birthday. Our favourite trees to plant are Ontario’s provincial tree, the eastern white pine and Canada’s national tree, the sugar maple tree. The eastern white pine is found in most of Ontario. It can be over 40 m tall but it’s needles only grow 6-12 cm long. Its cones are 8-20 cm long and good seeds are only produced every 3-5 years once the tree is 20-30 years old.

The sugar maple is a large tree that can grow up to 35 m tall and live for more than 200 years. The red leaf on Canada’s flag is the sugar maple. In the fall, the sugar maple tree’s leaves turn yellow, orange and red. Its keys have seeds inside of them which are 30-35 cm long and are produced every year.

Interestingly, the sugar maple’s bark changes from smooth grey and turns darker and splits into ridges that curl as the tree gets older. Canada is very proud of our maple syrup that comes from this tree. Other trees can be used to make syrup but the sugar maple is the one with the sweetest sap. It takes about 40 liters of sap to produce 1 liter of delicious maple syrup.

In 2016, we started a Canadian non-profit initiative,, to educate and encourage families about the benefits of planting trees. So far TreesCO2 has planted 564 trees, including eastern white pines, maple trees, dogwoods, white spruce, oak, hackberry, yellow birch and cedar. We believe the top five best things about planting trees are:

Minister Kathryn McGarry presents Kaitlin and Lauren with the White Pine Award at Forests Ontario’s 2017 Conference.

  1. Trees produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide
  2. You can easily do something with your own hands to offset climate change at any age
  3. You feel good about improving the future
  4. It helps animals too!
  5. You can watch your tree grow over the years and you can go back and visit the tree and remember how much you enjoyed planting it for Ontario’s and Canada’s 150th Birthday

We hope this inspires everyone across Ontario to take part in the Green Leaf Challenge and help plant three million trees for Canada’s 150th birthday. Every single tree contributes to the fight against climate change.

“Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don’t see what goes on underground – as they develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don’t see the roots. We just see and enjoy the beauty. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree.” -Joyce Meyer

“Give us a place to stand
Give us a place to grow
And call this land, Ontario
A place to live
For you and me
With hopes as high
As the tallest tree”