South Eglinton resident asked businesses to help their leafy friends
Trees along Bayview Avenue have a friend in Helen Godfrey.
Concerned for the health of her neighbourhood stock after a hot, dry summer, the South Eglinton resident spearheaded the Bayview Buckets Adopt-A-Tree project, which arms local businesses with watering cans and a promise to care for a tree in front of their property.
Over 20 businesses between Hillsdale Avenue E. and Davisville Avenue have committed to give their adoptee three “Bayview Buckets” of water a week.
Over the summer, Godfrey contacted local businesses to talk up the initiative and see if they’d be interested in participating.
An avid gardener, Godfrey volunteers with Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) and is a graduate of the organization’s tree tender volunteer training program.
Getting on board with Godfrey’s idea, the non-profit organization agreed to organize, and conducted a tree inventory on Bayview.
Godfrey said she is relieved that the trees will get special attention after suffering through a record hot summer.
“These ones down there were just gasping from a lack of water and looked like they were going to die by the end of the season,” she said. “So I thought the least we can do is step up and take some initiative here.”
Tremblett’s Valu-Mart donated about 13 water watering cans for distribution to those who needed one.
There is also an educational component to the project. LEAF staff and volunteers attached informative signs to the trees, which identify the tree species and provide other urban forest information.
Patisserie La Cigogne co-owner Juan Li says she was happy to commit to a caring for a tree, and pleased to see that her neighbours are also taking part in Bayview Buckets.
“It’s a good idea,” she said. “Some of the trees are really poor.”
It’s too late in the season now, but Li says next year she plans to add flowers at the base of the tree.
Godfrey said she’ll keep a close eye the program, but she is also hoping to get others involved.
“We’re hoping that maybe in September at Maurice Cody school some of the students might be interested in monitoring the health of the trees.”
LEAF’s manager of community engagement, Amanda Gomm, said in a statement that she was proud of Godfrey for starting up such a great initiative.
“It’s a hard thing to turn ideas into action and Helen is one of the people who has succeeded in that task,” Gomm said. “Her Bayview Buckets Adopt-a-Tree project is one that uses the simple act of watering trees as the spark to ignite community spirit and long term appreciation for living green infrastructure in our city.”
Commercial street trees like the ones that line Bayview also face added urban stresses such as air pollution, salt and excessive paving. According to LEAF, this can negatively impact their health and reduce their lifespan. This in turn reduces the environmental benefits the tree provides, and increases costs to the city, as the tree must be replaced earlier. Regular watering improves survival rates and overall tree health.
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