People from across the GTA came to our neighbourhood park to apply mulch to the recently planted trees and shrubs.

By Kathryn Stocks

A dozen people from across the city came out to Toronto Forestry’s stewardship event in Wanita Park on August 9 and worked hard to spread a large pile of mulch around plants that have been added over the last few years.

Leading the group was Steven Parks from the Forestry department’s Natural Environment and Community Programs. “We plant trees in the spring and in the fall,” he said, “and we switch gears in the summertime to stewardship.”

The trees and shrubs recently planted in the park are all native to Ontario, including ninebark, dogwood, meadowsweet, wild roses and willows. The area we were working in was at the back of Wanita Park around the corner from the playground and soccer fields. It’s called a riparian area, meaning it has water running through it. The mulch we applied keeps the weeds and grass down and allows the young plants to thrive.

“It gives us a chance to steward the trees without actually planting additional trees,” Steven said. “This is a pretty wet site so the trees and shrubs do very well in this park.”

A group of seven employees from RBC Insurance at 43 Bay St. participated in the event. “We get to have a volunteering day off, “ said Maliki. “Typically we try to do it twice a year.” He was the one who chose this particular project.

Two young students, Elise and Elliott, from North York were doing it for their school volunteer hours. “We like to do volunteer work that’s important to us,” Elliott said. “And beneficial for the environment,” Elise added. She’s going into Grade 10 and he will be in Grade 12 this month.

Kaitlyn, 14, and her mother Anne came down from Markham to participate. Kaitlyn, who found the posting on the CCRA website, said she was “interested in plants and in helping the environment.”

Kiran Singh lives at Brimley Ave. and McNicoll. “I just wanted to help out. I didn’t know what to expect,” she said, “but it’s a fun experience when you’re doing something good.”

It was great to see all those who came to help out in one of our local parks. There was just one problem: the only person there from the Centennial community was me!

If you’d like to get involved in another event, check out the City of Toronto’s website for tree planting and stewardship. Fall tree planting starts this month and goes into October.