FERGUS – About 80 people were on hand on Oct. 2 to celebrate with Tree Trust Centre Wellington as they stewarded their program’s 10th tree: a legacy Sugar Maple at 365 Garafraxa St. West in Fergus.
Initially, the township had planned to remove the maple to accommodate future road construction, but instead allowed Tree Trust to save it.
“Luckily the township granted us permission to steward it with the intention of redirecting construction in order to protect the tree,” explained Tree Trust Centre Wellington coordinator Jaimie McDonald.
“Senior trees are a vital component to a healthy urban forest,” said McDonald. “One mature tree does the work of close to 300 saplings – storing carbon, housing wildlife and providing shade. And street trees provide the added benefit of slowing the flow of rainwater so it can percolate into the soil instead of overloading storm sewers.”
“I’m so excited to see what we’re doing here with this tree,” said Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton.
“You hear me talk about rebuilding bridges and rebuilding roads … but as important as that, is looking after our green infrastructure,” added Linton, who noted the township is on track to plant 3,300 trees in Centre Wellington over the past two council terms.
“I can’t even begin to say how important it is that people like Rotary Club and Mayor Linton and Tree Trust and Neighbourwoods and all of you tree folk … keep the trees and plant the trees, it’s very important,” said Dr. Eimear O’Neill, who owns the property on which the tree is located.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am that this 158-year-old tree actually shelters this house, my house,” she added.
The stewardship of this tree was sponsored by Fergus-Elora Rotary Club.
Rob Galloway, president of the local club was pleased to be a partner and remarked that Tree Trust is a local program that reflects the Rotary’s environmental focus.
A plaque placed at the base of the tree acknowledges the Rotary donation.
Other Tree Trust sponsors thanked at the event include: Bellin Law, Ecclestone Financials Inc. and George Mochrie Real Estate Corporation.
Following the celebration, Tree Trust-approved arborists from Baum Tree Care climbed up to the top of the tree and got to work removing deadwood and reducing the canopy, providing an aerial show that many stayed to watch.
Afterword, Historian Al Koop led a tree walk of some of the storied trees in Elora’s Victoria Park.
Program manager Toni Ellis pointed out that for people starting to travel again, Tree Trust’s website offers a calculator feature allowing travellers to make up for the carbon cost of flying, receiving a tax receipt and the satisfaction of being able to visit the trees their gift supported.
For more information, visit treetrust.ca.