Residents rally to plant oak trees
Friends of Wells Hill Forest encourage neighbours to buy trees
Wells Hill forest is getting a little help from its friends.
A neighbourhood group recently finished a planting project that added 19 oak trees to the St. Clair and Bathurst area.
Working with the Harbord Village Residents Association, the grassroots group Friends of Wells Hill Forest encouraged homeowners to buy and plant a red oak in their backyard to preserve the local urban forest.
“People who had moved into the area or people who live in the area have usually done so because of the canopy,” said Jonathan
Spencer, one of the original members of group. “It’s something that generally the neighbours feel they want to preserve.”
He said neighbours were excited for the planting, whether they participated or not.
“There were people who couldn’t plant trees in their own backyard but they were very pleased to see something was done,” said Spencer, who is now an owner of a 2- metre tall tree in his backyard.
Friends of Wells Hill Forest was formed last year in response to a construction project that threatened some of the old oak trees. The project was eventually halted and the trees saved. But residents realized something more needed to be done, Spencer said.
“We recognized we need to do better than just respond ad hoc to these things,” he said. “We also need to enhance the forest.”
Spencer said that in addition to him, other original group members Lorne Rothman and Cheryl Millet helped carry out the project by delivering flyers encouraging neighbours to participate. The entire Friends of Wells Hill Forest group consists of 50 members, he said.
This is their first major project. In the future, Spencer said the group plans to participate in the Wychwood Barns enviro-day and to try to educate people on how to take care of trees in order to preserve the oak forest.
“These are valuable trees,” he said. “There aren’t many large stands of oak trees in the city of Toronto of this magnitude.”
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