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Local group pledges to plant 5,000 more trees this year

Susan Bryant and Inge Rinne see a busy year ahead as Trees for Woolwich sets ambitious targets. [Sean Heeger / The Observer]

They’ve been working hard to better the environment since before it was considered cool.

Today, Inga Rinne, chair of Trees for Woolwich, and Susan Bryant, chair of the Township of Woolwich Environmental Enhancement Committee (TWEEC), have more than 27 years under their belts as they continue on their quest to help the ecosystem of Woolwich.

And they’re doing it one tree at a time.

Trees for Woolwich is now planning an event with a two-pronged goal of adding 5,000 new trees to the area and preserving the healthy ones already there.

Since the organization started in 2011, more than 33,500 trees have been planted, surpassing their original goal of 23,000, one tree for each person in Woolwich at the time.

“Planting trees is one of those incredibly satisfying things,” said Rinne. “The benefits for planting trees are numerous … everything from the shade to carbon capture, to soil erosion and storm water management; to just plain aesthetics.”

She says it’s gratifying because you can see the progress made and it’s something that can be done by anyone who wants to help the environment.

With their goal set, planting for the spring season will kick off May 2, at the South Parkwood lot. Planting will run from 9 to 11 a.m.

Another planting will also take place May 9 at the Bloomingdale Community Centre from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

In 2019, Trees for Woolwich expanded their work beyond planting, by putting emphasis on caring for the trees which are already there.

In addition to planting trees throughout the township, classes were offered to residents so they could learn to prune trees. This was done with the hopes of encouraging the care of the existing trees to ensure tree coverage within the area could continue to flourish.

Last year more than 300 trees were pruned by volunteers who took the time to learn how to do it the right way. Classes for 2020 start April 6, giving residents the first of three chances to learn from an experienced arborist how to properly prune and take care of a tree.

Classes will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on April 6, 15 and 20. Registration is required by emailing Ann Roberts at the Woolwich Township office, aroberts@woolwich.ca.

Dates for pruning events will be made once classes have taken place.

Bryant says the township is blessed to have such a fabulous group of volunteers and they hope more people will come out to help with the work done by them and the organizations.

“We have some very committed and long-term volunteers who really care about making their community a better place,” she said.

To continue the beautification of Woolwich after the formal planting is over, vouchers are returning for those who want to add some trees to their own property.

For just $5, Woolwich residents can purchase one of 30 vouchers donated by Toyota Boshoku. These will be worth $50 towards the purchase of a native tree at John’s Nursery or Grobe Nursery.

Only one voucher can be purchased per household, and will be available starting April 30 at the Woolwich Memorial Centre. They will also be available at both plantings, while supplies last.

Rinne says the vouchers are a great way to not only add to the tree coverage in the community, but also to thank those who come out and take the time to address the growing climate issues.

“It’s really heartening to see that people are sort of coming forward and recognizing some sense of urgency given how many trees we’ve lost and given the whole climate change issue,” said Rinne. “People are looking to get involved and it’s easy to get involved. This is something that people can actually do.”

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