Next week, the Parks and Environment committee will consider a $1 million proposal to give free trees to residents through the TreeForMe program. We could get in on that, but someone needs to organize a community event to make it happen.
Currently, Toronto has between 20% and 28% canopy cover, and Weston–Mount Dennis is roughly average, with about 25% coverage. However, the trees face serious pressure from Asian longhorn beetles, ash borers, and climate change; and canopy cover has barely grown over the past decade. The ash borer alone could kill 8.4% of the trees in the city. The forestry department is also facing an after-inflation budget cut.
To fight the dangers, the TreeForMe program will give one or two of a large variety of native trees (I got matched with a serviceberry!) to interested participants who participate in a community event. The good people of Rockcliffe–Smythe, to our south, have organized one, and are expecting to distribute about 150 trees on May 13—an effort upon which residents might piggyback.
But wouldn’t it be better to host one ourselves, perhaps to distribute at the grand opening of the Farmers’ Market in June? Think of the benefits: more clean air, habitat, shade… and community spirit.