From Marginal Farmland to a Vibrant Forest
Artists Meg and Maury Breslow Recognized as Green Leaders for Transforming the Landscape
Seeley’s Bay, Ont., October 25, 2016 – From their country-side home near Kingston, Ontario, artists Meg and Maury Breslow overlook their legacy – where there was once marginal farmland, thousands of trees grow tall on their 18-acre parcel of land that is flourishing into a verdant forest. Maury first purchased the property in 1975, after joining the faculty at Queen’s School of Drama, where he met Meg, who teaches singing at the Kingston School of Music. Maury spent most weekends those following few years tackling various home renovation projects, however this planting project has proven to be his most adventuresome endeavour yet.
Planting through the Ontario government’s 50 Million Tree Program offered the Breslow’s an affordable option to re-green their property. Without it, Maury says, “it would have been very expensive, especially since we have almost 14,000 trees out there! Without the financial assistance from the 50 Million Tree Program, it would have cost significantly more money to plant trees on our property.”
This fall, the couple will be recognized as Green Leaders for their commitment to re-greening Ontario’s landscapes. The Green Leader program recognizes private landowners whose stewardship efforts have significantly contributed to enhancing forest cover in the province.
The couple began planting trees on their property when they first heard of the 50 Million Tree Program and since 2008, the Breslow’s have planted 13,400 seedlings: 2,400 in the first year, 4,000 in 2009 and a total of 7,000 in 2010, featuring a variety of tree species, including white pine, Norway spruce, red oak, bur oak and white spruce.
“It has been a pleasure working with such a wonderful couple as Meg and Maury, who have shown sincere commitment and concern for the environment over the years. They truly deserve the recognition!” says Rick Knapton, forest technician at the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority.
As the lead delivery agent of the government of Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program, Forests Ontario works with partners across the province to connect landowners, like the Breslow’s, with experienced forestry professionals who help manage the planting process and reduce the amount of effort and cost that is required by the landowners. In all, the couple credit their successful planting experience to their partnership with Rick who has been involved in the planting process since their first year and nominated the couple as Green Leaders.
“It pleased us, the idea that we would be putting trees in the environment and letting the fields go back to nature,” says Maury. For years, the arts-loving couple have also been fond of bird-watching and have kept record of up to 103 species that frequent their property. “Sometimes when we’re out in the rows we find nests in the spruce!” says Meg with excitement. Indeed, trees offers multiple ecological benefits including the expansion of wildlife habitat, the sequestration of atmospheric carbon, cleaner air, water and soil, and opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature.
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kathryn McGarry commends their success. “Our forests have profound importance on our health and well-being, and Meg and Maury’s outstanding efforts serve as a positive example for landowners across Ontario. Every year more and more organizations and individuals are working with us to achieve our goal of planting 50 million trees in southern Ontario, making our communities greener, healthier and fighting the threat of climate change.”
Their children, Max and Mimi, who visit time and again, are deeply thankful to have grown up in the beauty of the countryside. In fact, when Maury moved to Kingston in 1973 that was all he had hoped for. Nearly 45 years later the couple are leaving a lasting legacy not only to their children, but for the community and province as a whole.
“I would like to commend the Breslow’s for their significant contribution to re-greening Ontario’s landscapes through the 50 Million Tree Program. Their efforts are a testament to the importance of our forests which are vital to the social, economic and environmental health of our province,” says Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario.
Meg and Maury look forward to watching their forest flourish in the coming years with the ongoing assistance of the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority. Periodic site visits and survival assessments are also conducted to ensure the future success of their forest.
To learn more about the 50 Million Tree Program and other tree planting programs, as well as local tree planting workshops, visit: forestsontario.ca/50MTP.
About 50 Million Tree Program
Forests Ontario administers the government of Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program, part of the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign. The United Nations’ goal is to plant one billion trees worldwide each year. Ontario is committed to planting 50 million trees by 2025.
The 50 Million Tree Program is designed to significantly reduce the costs to landowners of large-scale tree planting and thereby increase the number of trees planted across the province.
About Forests Ontario
Forests Ontario is the voice for our forests. Working to promote a future of healthy forests sustaining healthy people, Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas, as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario’s forests through restoration, education and awareness. Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us @Forests_Ontario.
For more information, photos or to arrange an interview please contact:
p: 416-646-1193 ext. 257