CEO, Tree Canada
Operations Manager, Tree Canada
For nearly 30 years, Tree Canada has been greening Canada from coast to coast. Canadians can contribute by participating in its National Greening Program.
Tree planting is much more than digging a hole, dropping in a seedling, and throwing on some topsoil. “There’s a whole system of partners, collaborators, and processes involved just to get a single tree in the ground,” says Danielle St-Aubin, CEO of Tree Canada, a national non-profit dedicated to planting and nurturing trees in urban and rural environments.
From the donors and sponsors who fund the initiative to the seed harvesters and planters who cultivate the seedling long before it reaches the nursery or tree farm to tree selection, site design and delivery, and ultimately to the individuals who do the planting, pruning, and care, there’s a very long chain of commitment. “Our philosophy is that it takes a village of all these people, with each playing a critical role in the work we do,” says St-Aubin.
By working collaboratively alongside this wide range of supporters, community partners, and professionals, Tree Canada has successfully guided communities in managing their urban forests, helped to green hundreds of schoolyards across Canada, and planted and nurtured over 82 million trees since its founding in 1992.
Whether as an individual or a corporation, participating in the National Greening Program is a way to make a positive impact on the environment.
Tree Canada’s National Greening Program
One of Tree Canada’s key programs is the National Greening Program, a large-scale rural seedling planting program across five regions of Canada — British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. The National Greening Program is a hands-off reforestation initiative that lets Canadians have trees planted in areas that have been affected by either natural causes — such as pests, wildfires, and storms — or are in need of reforestation, such as abandoned agricultural land.
For $5 per seedling, individuals and businesses can sponsor tree planting in any region of their choice or wherever there’s a need. “For individuals it’s a great way to celebrate an anniversary, honour a loved one, or welcome the birth of a child — by planting a tree in their name,” says Sarah Quann, Operations Manager with Tree Canada. For companies, sponsoring tree planting can be done to support employee recognition, client appreciation, or as an incentive initiative.
The National Greening Program is also Tree Canada’s carbon compensation initiative. “The program lets individuals and businesses have trees planted on their behalf to compensate for their carbon footprint,” says Quann. Companies wanting to have a more direct impact on their carbon emissions, as part of their corporate social responsibility mandate can sponsor tree planting to compensate for their paper use, mileage, or energy consumption.
The tree planting, care, and maintenance are the responsibility of Tree Canada, not the donors. “We work with professional contractors to ensure the trees are planted and maintained to the highest standards and quality control measures, and we visit those sites one, two, and five years after planting to make sure the reforesting goals are being met and that the trees planted are contributing to a healthy forest on that site,” says Quann.
Whether as an individual or a corporation, participating in the National Greening Program is a way to make a positive impact on the environment. “You’re helping with the restoration of forests and wildlife, and every tree that’s planted helps to sequester carbon and contribute to cleaner air, soil, and waterways,” says St-Aubin.
Celebrating National Forest Week’s 100th anniversary
National Forest Week, which happens the third week of September every year, will take place this year from Sept. 20 to 26 and will be celebrating its 100th anniversary with the theme Healthy Forests, Healthy Future. “National Forest Week is really just a moment for people to pause and reflect on the positive aspects of trees,” says St-Aubin.
Each Wednesday during National Forest Week is National Tree Day, as per a private Members’ motion (575) that received consent from the House of Commons on March 2, 2011. This year, National Tree Day will be celebrated on Sept. 23. “We have some virtual activities lined up and people can get involved by going to our National Tree Day website to see how they can participate in their own communities following whatever local regulations are in place around COVID-19,” says Quann.
Sponsorship and donor support make all the difference
Sponsors and donors are an integral part of the work that Tree Canada does. “It’s something that people sometimes forget but it really takes all these individuals and they all have their own reasons for giving,” says St-Aubin. For this year’s National Tree Day, Tree Canada gratefully acknowledges the co-sponsorship of Staples Business Advantage and TELUS.
“These are two very dedicated sponsors that each have their own lines of business and decided they wanted to work together to help us make National Tree Day a success,” says St-Aubin. “Their co-sponsorship this year makes possible the planting of 650 trees among 25 schools on their behalf as well as holding commemorative events where we bring people together in a physically distanced way and plant ceremonial trees across Canada.”