More than 83,000 new trees have been planted across the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville this spring in honour of Canadian veterans, thanks to the combined efforts of the Highway of Heroes (HOH) Tree Campaign and Forests Ontario.
These newly planted seedlings are adding to an existing green monument along Canada’s busiest highway.
The HOH Tree Campaign pays tribute to veterans by planting a tree for each of the two million Canadians who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces. The HOH/Forests Ontario partnership reduces tree planting costs for eligible landowners living near Highway 401, from Windsor to Cornwall, to meet this goal.
Nearly 170,000 trees have been rooted in Leeds and Grenville as part of this living tribute since the campaign’s outset.
“Our partnership with Forests Ontario and the 50 Million Tree Program has allowed us to take immense strides toward reaching our goal of supporting the planting of two million trees in total,” said Mike Hurley, Executive Director the HOH Tree Campaign.
“In just two years, we have gone from having less than 10% of our goal planted to just over 75%. But perhaps what is most meaningful is that many Canadians can now take great pride in knowing that they have a small piece of this sprawling living tribute in their own backyards.”
Across Ontario, more than 880,000 seedlings were planted on upwards of 300 properties through the campaign this spring, creating over 440 hectares of new forest. Having rooted nearly 1.6 million trees in total, the HOH Campaign is poised to be completed by the end of 2022.
“It’s very exciting to see this partnership so close to its goal,” said Rob Keen, Registered Professional Forester and CEO of Forests Ontario. “The HOH campaign is unique, as it enables Ontarians to protect their environment and improve their communities while paying tribute to our Canadian Heroes.
We’re honoured to be a part of this noble mission.”
Forests Ontario, a non-profit charity, has facilitated the planting of more than 37 million trees across Canada since 2004.
As 2022 will be the last year of the HOH Campaign and final opportunity for landowners to participate, Mike and Rob urge those who are interested in contributing to the living tribute next spring to reach out to either HOH or Forests Ontario now.
Along with enhancing the world’s largest living tribute, the new forests planted along Highway 401 will provide wind and snow barriers, stabilize soil, absorb groundwater runoff, sequester carbon, and provide new habitats for wildlife. Planting forests to sequester carbon is one of the most effective methods to cool landscapes and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Property owners living within 30 kilometers of the 401 corridor between Windsor and Cornwall who are interested in planting trees in the spring of 2022 can visit www.forestsontario.ca or contact: Nicole Baldwin, Forestry Program Manager, Forests Ontario, (416) 646-1193, ext. 227, or email@example.com.
When is a tree more than just a tree? The answer is when the tree is part of a memorial to honour Canada’s fallen heroes. We are planting 2 million trees for all Canadians who have served during times of conflict since Confederation and including the War of 1812.
117,000 of the most prominent trees will be planted along and near the stretch of the 401 known as the Highway of Heroes, one tree for every life lost while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.
This tribute provides a myriad of environmental benefits and offers an opportunity to tell the story of those who have served in the Armed Forces, reminding future generations of the great debt we owe these courageous Canadians.
The Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign is funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, the Government of Ontario, Cullen’s Foods, Landscape Ontario, TD Bank, the Ontario Trillium Fund, the City of Toronto, Frank Cowan Company, the City of Quinte West, Tree Canada, Rotary District 7070, Maple Leaves Forever, the Garden Club of Toronto and Canadian citizens nationwide.
To learn more, visit www.hohtribute.ca.
Forests Ontario is a not-for-profit charity that promotes re-greening the province through forest restoration, conservation, education and stewardship. Forests Ontario commits to promoting a healthier future by sustaining and supporting healthy forests through multiple tree planting initiatives.
Forests Ontario is the voice of our forests.
Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us @Forests_Ontario to find out more.