LEAF busy on Earth Day in Whitby

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Published April 26, 2023 at 3:27 pm

The organization that provides a subsidized tree-planting program for homeowners in Durham is also busy planting trees all over the region and beyond, thanks in part to a $304,500 Trillium Foundation grant awarded to the non-profit in 2020.

LEAF Executive Director Janet McKay, who was at Whitby’s D’Hillier Park Saturday for a family-friendly Earth Day tree planting event, said the impact of the Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant “cannot be underestimated,” noting that the money helped LEAF expand into Durham three years ago.

“With this grant, LEAF is able to work alongside municipalities to improve communities through tree planting and stewardship on public lands. This work is essential to mitigating climate change, restoring biodiversity and making our communities greener and more pleasant for residents,” she said. “To be able to engage with community members through our planting events again this spring benefits everyone involved.”

Funds from the grant have been used over a three-year period to help with staffing costs for three positions, some key administrative costs, supplies for tree-planting activities and garden kits too.

The Earth Day event was one of many planting activities undertaken by LEAF since 2020 as it works to increase tree cover and enhance plant and wildlife biodiversity in the region.

Whitby MPP Lorne Coe, who stopped by the park Saturday to lend a hand, said he is happy the grant is helping Whitby residents and businesses participate in ecosystem conservation and encouraging them to support “a healthy and sustainable environment.”

In the past three years more than 1,300 residents have been engaged in planting efforts on private and public lands, with more than 3,000 native trees and shrubs planted.

LEAF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting and improving the urban forest.

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