In mid-October, dozens of volunteers descended upon the Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston to participate in one of the largest tree planting events in the community.
A partnership between the Friends of Lemoine Point, Cataraqui Conservation and TD Tree Days saw nearly 100 volunteers, approximately half of whom were bank employees, plant 350 trees on the Lemoine Point property. Alongside them were Cataraqui Conservation staff, volunteers from the Friends, and interested members of the general public. TD contributed $5,000 for the event, a continuation of their legacy of supporting tree planting events throughout the province for a number of years.
According to the Friends, all the trees planted were native species, enriching local biodiversity, and are located at the south end of Lemoine Point Conservation Area.
“The soil was ‘heavy as clay’ but our determined volunteers persevered,” said the Friends in a statement, adding that refreshments were provided by Tim Horton’s, who have also been a supporter of the Friends for many years.
Rick Knapton, Cataraqui Conservation’s Forestry Coordinator said that the financial support of TD has been crucial to these planting events, and that getting local bank staff involved in the planting process helps them to see where their investment is going in a very direct way.
“Years ago when the program first got started, we thought it would be a great initiative and submitted a proposal, which was accepted. TD Tree Days is an offshoot of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and is a way for TD to not only contribute funding for tree planting, but to get their staff involved,” Knapton said, adding that tree planting events had been happening for numerous years before the TD Tree Days program, but that funding came from the Friends group almost exclusively.
“Back in the day, we would utilize plants from the Native Plant Nursery here at Lemoine Point and get some funding support from the Friends to help staff prepare and plant in these areas. When the opportunity came along for a program such as TD Tree Days, we were able to access their funding and not have to rely as much on funding from the Friends, which is good for them.”
Rick said the number of volunteers from TD was equal to the number from the Friends and other community members, demonstrating the importance many people place on tree planting, and conserving and enhancing the natural environment in the Kingston area.
“One of the main reasons for the partnership is helping to offset the cost of planting, but it’s always nice to engage the community and get them involved so that they have a better appreciation of the environment and what trees do,” said Knapton, who added that TDs enthusiasm for the program has never wavered over the years.
“We always get positive feedback from their volunteers, but quite frankly the most positive feedback is the fact that they keep coming back to us to support the tree planting after so many years.
All parties agree that planting trees provides significant benefits to the natural environment, including helping to capture solar energy and create oxygen, moderating local climate patterns, storing water and positively impacting the water table in the region, storing and recycling nutrients, providing habitat for birds, fish, mammals, insects and other wildlife, which is important for biodiversity, and in the age of human-made climate change, trees help to temper the negative effects of global warming by acting as carbon reservoirs.
The TD Tree Days program began in 2010, and more than 491,000 trees have been planted so far, with a goal of planting one million by 2030 as part of the TD Ready Commitment.
“TD Tree Days aims to provide TD colleagues, their friends and family, and community members, the opportunity to volunteer to help build healthier communities by planting trees and shrubs in urban and rural greenspaces,” explained the TD website about the events, which are key elements of the bank’s TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
“We work with local organization, including municipalities, conservation authorities and Indigenous communities, to bring planting events to life within the North American footprint of TD. This volunteer program helps create a more vibrant planet by continuing to grow and enhance greenspaces for communities to enjoy.”
As Knapton said, “TD has always been very supportive because it’s always been a well-organized event and one that their staff look forward to. Many of them return year after year.”
Cataraqui Conservation staff would like to thank TD Tree Days, local TD staff, volunteers with the Friends of Lemoine Point and the community for making our tree planting events a success, we look forward to seeing you at our next planting day.
For more information on TD Tree Days, visit https://www.tdtreedays.com/
For more information about Cataraqui Conservation’s tree planting programs, visit https://cataraquiconservation.ca/pages/treeplanting.
For more information about the Friends of Lemoine Point, visit https://cataraquiconservation.ca/pages/friends-lemoine-point.