Students: Tree planting program provides benefits for community, environment

The CELP environmental program at Norwell District Secondary School recently conducted research into the environmental, health and economic benefits of trees.

The evidence is clear: the Town of Minto as well as individual property owners need to plant more trees to build a more sustainable community.

On our school grounds alone, we collected data from 19 trees and have discovered that trees provide more than just shade on a hot summer day. They also provide many cost saving benefits that all Minto residents should consider.

Trees not only provide benefits for the environment, but also for property owners. According to our data, the 19 recorded trees save approximately $1,000 per year in energy costs for our school. Considering these are just a few of the many trees within our community, the total cost savings over 25 to 50 years would be substantial.

By continuing to plant trees as a community we would be providing many environmental as well as economic benefits. In the heat of summer the trees provide a natural shade and cooling system which lowers the need for air conditioning. Also, in the winter trees protect buildings from cold wind and decrease the amount of heat we use. Trees also increase property values and improve the overall health of community members by making it easier to enjoy walking on sidewalks and being in our parks.

The overall benefits of these 19 trees make a substantial difference to our school and this community. The total value that these trees provide over a single year is substantial but imagine the benefits multiplied by decades. The positive impact on our community would be meaningful and long lasting. Our school will continue to plant more trees and we challenge the Town of Minto to begin creating a plan in order to increase the total tree cover in our community. A good plan of action would be to plant five trees for every single one cut down. If the Town of Minto as well as individual property owners take action the overall outcome of a tree planting program over the next 25+ years will be substantial.

Nicole Walker and Taylor Stewart are Grade 10 students in Norwell District Secondary School’s Community Environmental Leadership Program.