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Local Man Honoured for Tree Planting

Ed Barden Announced as Forests Ontario’s Newest Green Leader

Ed Barden hugging one of his beloved trees.

GUELPH, ON (July 31, 2018) – Forests Ontario’s newest Green Leader, Ed Barden, retired in 2001 – but you’d never guess that whilst watching him tend to his woodlot. This Hillsburgh resident keeps himself busy planting, watering and pruning. Ed doesn’t know where his love of trees and forests stems from, but they’ve been his passion since childhood.

Ed was Road Superintendent for Erin Township early in his career before going on to become Forestry and Drainage Superintendent for the City of Guelph.  In his spare time he was a dedicated volunteer firefighter, attending to several major blazes in Erin, Ontario. Nowadays, Ed considers taking care of trees to be his unofficial full-time-job.  His 33-acre property has undergone large-scale tree plantings through Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program (50MTP) and Credit Valley Conservation’s Potted Plants Program.

“If I could pass anything down to my grandkids it would be a love of trees,” said Ed, “so being chosen as a Green Leader is really an honour for me.” The Green Leader Program acknowledges individuals who have planted trees under the 50MTP and made a lasting commitment to enhancing forest cover in the province. Ed – whose 2008 planting was part of a pilot project for the 50MTP – was one of the first people to participate in the program. In total, 1,600 trees were planted on his property, including Red oak, White spruce, Red pine, White cedar and Black maple.

Ed was nominated to be a Green Leader by Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) who were the planting partners for the project. Planting partners are agents who assess the planting site, conduct the plantings, and conduct follow-up assessments.

“Ed’s passion for the land is evident in the time and care he spends planting and tending to his trees,” said Aaron Day, Senior Coordinator, Forest Management at CVC. “This passion is ensuring a healthy future forest.”

Not only does Ed care for his trees, he takes an interest in learning more about his property.  Subsequent to planting trees with CVC in 2008, Ed went on to attend CVC’s Caring for Your Land and Water workshop in 2015, which helps landowners understand their property within the larger context of the local landscape and create an action plan.  Ed then added more trees and shrubs to his property through CVC’s Potted Plants Program. The program offers subsidized planting services with over 30 varieties of native trees and shrubs. Ed’s planting included nannyberry, serviceberry, black cherry and sugar maple and was supported with an additional grant from CVC’s Landowner Action Fund for its contribution to the natural heritage system and enhancing wildlife habitat.

Ed’s property is a nature enthusiast’s paradise with camping spots, a pond to swim in, hiking trails and bird watching spots, but his trees serve an even bigger purpose. “Ed Barden’s trees help to clean the air and water, provide habitat for wildlife and help to slow climate change,” explains Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “Truly, he is making Ontario a cleaner and greener place to live.”

“The negative effects of climate change are increasingly noticeable,” says Keen. “We see it in extreme weather events, the frequency of forest fires, and we see it in the susceptibility of our forests to invasive species.” Even knowledgeable landowners like Ed are not immune. In fact, several of the older Ash trees on his land are infested with Emerald Ash Borer, a particularly destructive invasive insect from Asia.

Outside of professional programs like the 50MTP, Ed has also been planting trees solo or with the help of his sons since the 1970s. “I hope that my family will enjoy the syrup from the Maple trees I planted not too long ago,” Ed says with a grin. “There is an old Chinese Proverb that says ‘one generation plants the trees, another gets the shade.’”