Forests Ontario

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York Region 2019 Tree Bee Competition

Posted: December 19, 2019

Tree Bee is Forests Ontario’s longest-running education program. Here are the winners from the 1976 competition.

The Regional Municipality of York and Forests Ontario partnered once again to deliver the fifth annual York Region Tree Bee Competition.

On November 19th, eager youth from across the region gathered together at the Richmond Hill Centre for Performing Arts to prepare for the big evening. As competitors settled into their teams, volunteers and staff began distributing the tests. The room fell quiet. Only a few hush-hush whispers penetrated the silence as students completed the multiple-choice portion of the test.

Next came the moment all the students had been dreading – the Tree Identification Power Point.

Students were tested on 20 tree species; they had only 30 seconds to examine a photo of identifying tree characteristics and decide the correct species before the next slide. With each slide change came the loud stirring within the teams as they conveyed either their excitement and confusion. Many teams were baffled as the images for Kentucky Coffee-tree and Gingko were shown – these proved to be difficult species to identify for the tree bee competitors.

Once tests were completed, volunteers scurried away to begin marking. Meanwhile, the mid-show entertainment, ‘Speaking of Wildlife’, arrived with welcomed (but not altogether surprising) guests – wildlife! The Tree Bee competitors cheered as the ‘Speaking of Wildlife’ ambassadors introduced a raccoon, snake, hawk, turtle, opossum and skunk. Students learned about the importance of these native wildlife species and how trees play a role in providing habitats. Many would say that the furry and cold-blooded friends were the highlight of the night.

Good work to all Grade 4-6 students who participated in the 2019 York Region Tree Bee! Congrats to Elder’s Mills Public Schools on their victory, or should we say victor-bee…

However, the evening was not yet complete; winners were still to be announced.

As teams, parents and volunteers crowded together, Alex Ryland from the Municipality of York region began announcing the runners up. When it finally became time to crown the first-place champions, the teams once again fell silent. The MC made his announcement… “The 1st place winner for the 2019 Tree Bee goes to Elder Mills Public School!”

The audience applauded in unison as the winning team went up to collect their prizes and get their photos taken. Many cheerful parents and teachers congratulated the competitors for their hard work. Forests Ontario and the Municipality of York Region staff also exchanged some joyful words, as, once again, York Region Tree Bee was a success!