Blog June 1, 2012
Volunteers are pitching in and greening spaces across York Region
By Jill Kelly, Project Manager, York Region
The 2012 planting season in York Region is off to a roaring start! From Earth Day planting celebrations in April to stewardship initiatives in May—volunteers across the region have been pitching in to improve the health and quality of our parks and open spaces.
Since April, more than 800 volunteers of all ages and abilities have planted 1,300 native trees and shrubs in parks and open spaces across Richmond Hill and Markham. Stewardship activities included tending and caring for native wildflower gardens, removing unwanted invasive plant species such as garlic mustard and dog-straggling vine from our public spaces, and monitoring the health of trees from some of our previous planting sites!
New this year, Evergreen held a successful harvest and transplant event from our onsite tree nursery at Phyllis Rawlinson Park in Richmond Hill.
Established in 2009 the nursery was planted by community volunteers in an effort to provide locally-sourced trees and shrubs for Evergreen’s future restoration initiatives. After three years of care and nurture, many of the trees and shrubs are now strong enough for transplantation.
So on a hot Sunday in May, youth volunteers (aged 14–24) from Nobel Friends of Toronto set to work carefully digging out 120 native staghorn sumac shrubs from the nursery, transporting them via wheelbarrows and buckets, and replanting them in their new location within Phyllis Rawlinson Park.
Although at times it was physically challenging, our inaugural harvest event was a huge success. Participants experienced first-hand the difference between transplanting established saplings and planting container grown trees—transplanting requires more attention to the delicate root system in order to minimize disturbance and stress.
By the end of the event, the youth volunteers were hot, dirty and a little tired but were all very proud of their efforts. Their hard work has added to the biodiversity of Phyllis Rawlinson Park and has helped to created viable habitat for a diversity of wildlife, from song birds to white-tail deer. Job well done!
Building on our initial success, Evergreen will be running a fall harvest event at the park in an effort to further naturalize the park. Please keep an eye on the events calendar to find out how you can get involved in Richmond Hill and beyond!