Nearly 200 trees will be planted by residents across Amherstburg in celebration of Earth Day as part of a public-private partnership to boost the Town’s tree canopy while engaging youth, who will map and monitor the growth of the saplings as the years progress.
Residents who want a free tree for their home must pre-register by calling 519-736-5712 or emailing [email protected]. They can choose from among eight tree species, including American Sycamore, Black Cherry or Red Oak, and must agree to give researchers ongoing access to the tree as the Town tracks its expanding tree canopy through the use of GIS mapping.
The seeds for this innovative program were planted back in November by THRIVE Amherstburg, a Town-based lobby group that researches issues, delegates to Council and brings in guest speakers on a variety of topics. Council liked the tree planting proposal THRIVE advanced in its Climate Change White Paper and directed staff to implement it and enlist other sponsors to expand the program and offset costs.
The proposal generated significant positive media coverage and called for the planting of 200 trees in 2022, 500 trees in 2023, 1,000 trees in 2024, 2,000 trees in 2025 and 4,000 trees in 2026. Students would be hired to help administer and promote the program and monitor the growth of the trees and the Town’s tree canopy over the years.
“Increasing forest cover is one of the most effective things we can do to combat climate change,” said Thrive’s White Paper. “Essex County has an incredibly low natural cover and our town tree canopy is very low. From McGregor to the downtown core there is an urgent need to correct this.”
The Town used $6,000 from its 2021 tree planting budget to purchase saplings and secured donations from multiple sources to fund the $16,700 program. Essex Power is donating $6,000, the Essex County Field Naturalists Club is kicking in $2,000, Richard Peddie is donating $1,400, Lauri Brouyette is donating $1,000 and Cerebral Escape Creations is donating $300.
Residents who have preregistered can pick up their tree for planting between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday April 23 at the Libro Centre. Volunteers will plant trees for those residents who are physically unable to do so. University of Windsor Faculty of Science Students will be on-site at the Libro to help load the saplings into vehicles.
Also at the Libro on Saturday, April 23, volunteers are joining with the Town’s Environmental Advisory Committee and the Essex Region Conservation Authority to plant trees from 8:30 a.m. to Noon.
Learn more about these events and other green programs on the Town’s Environmental Initiatives page!