Community program

Mature trees are “carbon sequestration heroes”. This community program helps them live even longer

Lots of big old trees could use some fixing, and there’s a bunch of honest tree trimmers trying to come to their rescue.

My recent articles on mature trees that stand out for their size and place in neighborhoods have sparked many emails about local trees that readers love or are trying to save from development or other predators.

One came from Toni Ellis, director of an Elora-based group called Tree Trust, which raises money to pay arborists to work on old trees that otherwise wouldn’t receive the care needed to prolong their lifespan.

Toronto and other municipalities devote substantial resources to maintaining trees on city property, even going so far as trimming and trimming. This leaves trees on private property to fend for themselves unless the owner maintains them.

Ellis, an environmentalist and former co-manager of the former East York borough’s recycling program, founded Tree Trust in Elora in 2019, as a way to preserve mature trees she describes as “ecological workhorses.”

A mature tree captures and stores tons of carbon, releases oxygen into the atmosphere, and provides shade for people and habitat for birds and animals, making them far more valuable than there is. appears, she said.

“What we’re doing is delaying the inevitable,” she said. “Trees are living beings. They only last so long. But you can give them a lot more time to do their job by taking care of them.

“One large mature tree can pull as much carbon out of the atmosphere as 300 young trees, which is why we call them carbon capture heroes.”

Tree Trust chapters have started in five communities, including the Toronto Islands, and rely on donations and fundraising to hire arborists for pruning, crown reduction and other work that will keep them going. in good health.

So far, the five chapters have been able to hire arborists to repair 13 trees, with a slew more in the works, Ellis said, adding that the average cost per tree is about $1,450.

The Tree Trust website includes a form that can be completed to nominate trees in communities with a chapter as candidates for intervention. If it is private land, no work is carried out without the agreement of the owner.

But the main thing is to find the money to do the job. Any money raised in a community with a chapter is used to work on local trees, she said, adding that donations are tax deductible, due to its charitable status.

Anyone interested in starting a Tree Trust chapter can find information on how to get started on their website. And be prepared to do some heavy lifting to find donors and fundraise to pay arborists.

But it is surely the work of the Lord.

But the main thing is to raise the necessary funds to do the job

What’s broken in your neighborhood? Wherever you are in the GTA, we want to know. Email [email protected] or follow @TOStarFixer on Twitter