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Tree Planting Event Guide and my past experience

by: Julia Belov

December is the best time to analyze the year, which is almost gone and to make for the new year. And why not make green resolution for the next year? I have started thinking about mine and tried to recall what I have done the previous years. Tree planting events were probably the major green projects. Here I would like to share my experience on them and provide a Tree Planting Event Guide if you want to make tree planting one of your green resolutions for next year.

My husband and I have a tradition of organizing major tree planting during the month of April around the Earth Days for the last 4 years. We loved this activity so much the first time that it was hard to stop us the following year.

First, in April 2008 we helped organizing the Earth Day Tree Planting at York University in Toronto. It was a first time event and turned out to be a great success. Over 40 students showed up to help protect the flooded grass field on the university grounds. We were thrilled to see that all the trees, which were donated by Black Creek Project were planted in no time and we had to send the representative to bring more trees. More than a hundred of trees were planted. You can see the report from the even with photos here: Tree Planting 2008.

In 2009 we went back and helped to organize the second similar event and planted 400 trees! You can read here why on Earth we decided to bring so many: Tree planting 2009.

The following two years we continued planting trees but on our own property and just the two of us. We manages to plant 100 trees and bushes in 2010 and about half of that in 2011. And I am looking forward to 2012.

So, if you are thinking to organize a similar event then here is my

Tree Planting Guide:

– Look for organizations, which will be willing to help you. You will be surprised how easy this might be. The student clubs at York University, which we contacted really liked the idea and helped to negotiate the planting with the University officials. Next, we contacted the local environmental group, Black Creek Project, which happily donated plantings as well as shovels, instructor and a helping hand (two actually).

– Next, let as many people know about your event as possible. We successfully used Facebook as well as University club newsletter and our own e-mail contacts as the means.

– It is important to develop detailed plan of the event before inviting people and generate a clear announcement, which would state the date, time, and what to expect. This announcement has to be sent out as early as possible with at least two reminders, and the last one the mourning of the event, especially if you are inviting students.

– Bring extra gloves and tools if they will not be provided.

– Bring garbage bags, since it is always nice to use the opportunity to clean up the area around. We picked up garbage during both events and collected several bags each time.

– It is a good idea to estimate the optimum number of trees to bring. But this is not always possible. So make sure that the roots of the trees are protected while planting in case it takes a long time. During the second event we had to work for hours since not enough people showed up. We were just next to the pond so we aligned the trees along the shore with the bare roots of the maple trees in the water. Alternately, you can wrap the roots in damp cloths.

– Encourage people have fun. This is supposed to be a fun event, aiming to show how enjoyable taking care of our planet can be. The students who were planting the trees came up with tons of different ways to make if a memorable day from taking pictures of each other working to digging the largest hole to fit one of them. If your guests enjoy themselves they are more likely to show up the next time.

– Take pictures, celebrate and thank everybody.

Planting trees is one of the most rewarding activities. And with some planning you can make a fun and exciting event while doing something good for our planet.