Arbor Week is celebrated each year in Ontario starting on the last Friday in April through the following two weekends. That's right -- it's a ten day week!
There are a number of ways you can participate in Arbor Week. The simplest way is by planting a tree in your own yard. Make it a family event! If you have children, it's a great way to encourage their awareness of nature. You can also organize a neighborhood planting, or speak with your employer, service club, religious group, etc. to inform them of Arbor Week and the benefit of trees in the community.
In addition to what you can do personally to participate in and promote Arbor Week, activities are scheduled in many communities around the province:
each year there is a provincial kick-off event, with a ceremonial tree planting and other related activities. Recent such events involved the Premier of Ontario and the Treasurer of Ontario. Watch your newspapers for the time and place!
Arbor Week Committees are set up in towns and cities across Ontario with broad representation from local Nursery Operators, Municipal Government, Horticultural Societies, business, school boards, Conservation Authorities, Boy Scout organizations, media representatives, and other interested citizens.
Many communities plan ceremonial plantings, usually involving the Mayor and other community leaders. Communities with annual events of this kind include Windsor, Chatham, Sarnia, London, Waterloo, Brantford, Hamilton, Toronto, and many others. These are often organized by the City Forester or the Parks Department. Watch for the announcement or call City Hall for the date and location.
Many community organizations are establishing ongoing planting programs in addition to the usual municipal streetscape program. Examples include the City of Oshawa's "Good Neighborhood Program",the Save the Rouge Valley System plantings, and the Greening of Brantford program. Your community may have similar programs seeking citizen participation, donations, or volunteer assistance. Get involved-- it's fun!
Schools across the province are getting students involved in Arbor Week activities in an effort to educate children about the importance of trees. Schools are organizing student tree planting activities in conjunction with local municipalities, businesses, and horticultural groups. For example, in recent years children in Hearst planted 1,000 trees with the assistance of the local Association of Tree Farmers; the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority has hosted busloads of Chatham school children in tree planting excursions, and London school children planted 2,300 seedlings with sponsorship from General Motors of Canada Diesel Division and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The Boy Scouts, through their Trees For Canada program, plant thousands of trees in the province each spring, and in many communities this activity is integrated with the overall Arbor Week program. The Scouts are also involved with St. Joseph's Printing Ltd.'s "Partners For Growth" program, through which tens of thousands of trees are being planted in the Credit Valley.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Canada in cooperation with educators across the province, have developed "Focus on Forests" an excellent collection of educational activities related to forests. These activities are suitable for all grade levels and can be used in any season.
Tree Plan Canada is an initiative of the Federal Government's "Green Plan for a Healthy Environment". Tree Plan Canada provides financial support to community based tree planting projects. Call 1-800-563-0202 for further information.