More than 800 people turned out to plant around 2,500 trees along the Ganatchio Trail this weekend as part of the Essex Region Conservation Authority’s (ERCA) Earth Day celebration.
“Trees are identified as the biggest weapon in the fight against climate change,” said Danielle Breault Stuebing, director of communications and outreach services with ERCA.
“Everyone out here today can feel proud that they’ve helped to improve green space and take climate action here in the City of Windsor.”
The event, which took place on Sunday, was back after a two-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has hosted tree planting events in the city since 1999 and has added, according to Breault Stuebing, more than 32,000 trees to the city’s landscape.
Groups, families and individuals all took part in the day-long event. Breault Stuebing said they planted about 20 different varieties of trees of the Carolinian species that are native to the region such as Maples and Oaks.
She said they chose trees that are suited to soil conditions and wet climate in the East Riverside area of the city.
“It is always important to choose the species that are indigenous, that would grow naturally in this region,” she said.
“We have to breathe,” said volunteer Illya Hudson, when asked why he thought planting trees was important.
“Trees give a lot of life to a lot of things, a lot of organisms in the world, so, very important.”
Hudson was out with his family to take part in the event. Jihari Hudson said he often goes to the park to use the pump track or hang out with friends.
“It feels amazing, finally get to come out after the pandemic and spend time with the family,” he said.
Nearby students from Riverside Secondary School who are part of a work study program and part of Erca’s “How-To” crew — a support team that gets some advanced training on the planting plan and equipment ahead of time — were busy planting some trees of their own.
“Our area has one of the lowest forest covers and we just want to make the area greener,” said Yash Patel, a Grade 11 student.
“Trees are a great way to cleanse the environment and take out the CO2,” fellow student Isaac Fung said.
Patel says they plan to come out in future years to take part in the event.
“Next year experts,” he said.