A big thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation!

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Today we braved the snowy weather to officially recognize and thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for the Seed Grant we received in 2017. It is through this grant that we have been able to pilot the subsidized Oakville Backyard Tree Planting Program (launched last fall), so we are extremely grateful for all the support that OTF has provided us.

Montanna Diakun (LEAF staff), Peggy Morrison and Mara McHaffie (Oakvillegreen staff) pose with Peggy’s newly planted sugar maple last fall.

The Oakville Backyard Tree Planting Program is being delivered through a partnership between Oakvillegreen and LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests), a Toronto-based non-profit that has been planting trees in backyards for over 20 years. Through the Full-Service program, homeowners receive a consultation in their yard with a certified arborist, a 5 to 8 foot tall native tree, delivery, planting service and tree care information for a subsidized price. There is also a Do-It-Yourself version for those that want to get their hands dirty. Plus, the program is also suitable for private property owned by multi-units and businesses! To learn more and sign up for the program, you can visit www.yourleaf.org, or email info@oakvillegreen.org. We are currently accepting applications for our spring season so sign up ASAP – the program is first-come, first-served!

For today’s event, we gathered at the home of Peggy and Scott, who were the first recipients of a backyard tree during the program’s first season last fall. We were joined by MPP Kevin Flynn, Mayor Rob Burton, councillors Tom Adams, Nick Hutchins and Dave Gittings, Cindy Toth, Director of Environmental Policy at the Town of Oakville, LEAF Field Operations Coordinator Brenna Anstett, as well as Oakvillegreen staff and board members.

Before presenting Oakvillegreen with the Ontario Trillium Foundation plaque, MPP Kevin Flynn expressed his excitement about the new program:

MPP Kevin Flynn speaking about the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the new Backyard Tree Planting Program today.

“Our beautiful tree canopy is a vital source of life and beauty for all of us living in Oakville […] On behalf of all the residents of Oakville, I thank OTF for funding this impactful project and I thank LEAF and Oakvillegreen Conservation Association for your fantastic work. All of us look forward to a greener future, confident that more residents will be working towards the protection, care and regeneration of our treasured urban forest.”

We also heard from Giuliana (Oakvillegreen executive director) and Karen (Oakvillegreen board president) about how this program will help Oakville reach its 40 percent urban canopy cover goal by encouraging tree planting on private property.

“Private property accounts for 60 percent of Oakville’s plantable green space, so this program is a really important step towards the town’s canopy cover goals,” Karen said.

MPP Kevin Flynn, Councillor Tom Adams, Councillor Nick Hutchins, Mayor Rob Burton and Councillor Dave Gittings enjoyed mulching the new backyard tree.

Giuliana added, “Planting trees through this program will improve air quality, store carbon, support native pollinators and wildlife, and enhance human health!”

Mayor Rob Burton also expressed how happy he was that the town will now be supporting the program as well, and remarked on how the green movement has grown in Oakville over the last two decades.

Despite the chill, everyone was in high spirits as they pitched in to provide the new tree with a fresh ring of mulch for the spring season. Our guests then had a chance to mingle, enjoy some refreshments and ask questions about the program.

We’d like to say another big thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support, and to everyone who came out in the snow today to celebrate with us!

LEAF and Oakvillegreen board and staff members pose for a photo in the snow.