Community members make Ontario greener, one tree at a time during Trees Ontario's annual Community Planting Weekend

More than 300 community volunteers planted over 2,000 trees as part of Trees Ontario's annual community tree planting event in the Barrhaven neighbourhood of Ottawa. (CNW Group/Trees Ontario)

Local efforts by volunteers, residents and planting partners help re-green the province

TORONTO, May 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Trees Ontario, along with volunteers, community members and planting partners dug, stomped and planted thousands of seedlings in nine separate communities across Ontario during a series of half-day tree planting events.

Now in its sixth year, the annual Community Planting Weekend was hosted by Trees Ontario and supporters CAA South Central Ontario, CAA North & East Ontario, Enbridge Gas Distribution, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and Ontario Wood.

In total, the day drew together more than 1,000 attendees and resulted in a total of nearly 5,000 new, native trees planted! Planting sites included London, Windsor, Ottawa, Niagara, Midhurst, Kingston, Kitchener/Waterloo, Peterborough and York Region.

"The tree planting events were not only a fun way to spend the day with family and friends, but were also a great way to create a local legacy and a greener tomorrow which will benefit current and future generations.  CAA South Central Ontario is proud to have sponsored the events and is committed to giving back to the communities in which our members live and work," said Cindy Hillaby, VP Membership & Automotive Services, CAA SCO.

Increasing large-scale planting across Ontario is part of Trees Ontario's mandate. The benefits of trees in rural and urban spaces are crucial not only to our ecosystem, but also to human health. Trees clean our air, improve local water supplies, establish wildlife habitat and provide a buffer against the effects of climate change.

"Trees enhance the vitality of our communities and what better way to showcase this than to directly involve families and youth through environmentally engaging activities such as this," said Rob Keen, RPF, Trees Ontario CEO. "It's been wonderful seeing stewards of all ages join Trees Ontario, along with its partners, in taking such an active lead in ensuring a greener future for everyone."

"Enbridge Gas Distribution is proud to support organizations like Trees Ontario that help build healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities," said Kerry Lakatos-Hayward, Director of Customer Care, Enbridge Gas Distribution. "In addition to the trees planted today, we're proud to be working with Trees Ontario to plant 50,000 trees in the community this spring to thank our customers who have signed up for paperless billing."

Trees Ontario and its partners commend the contribution of all the families and community groups involved in this year's planting activities.

A special thank you also goes out to our planting event partners: CAA South Central Ontario, CAA North & East Ontario, Enbridge Gas Distribution, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Ontario Wood, Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, Friends of Lemoine Point, Grand River Conservation Authority, Peterborough Green Up, City of Windsor, Essex Region Conservation Authority, The County of Simcoe, Niagara Parks Commission, Regional Municipality of York, Upper Thames River Conservation Authority and Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.

About Trees Ontario
Trees Ontario, the largest not-for-profit tree planting partnership in North America, is leading efforts to strengthen Ontario's tree planting infrastructure by enhancing the capacity of its tree planting partners through financial support and professional development expertise, delivering landowner incentives through cost offsetting and educating the public through awareness campaigns and community workshops. Trees Ontario is the lead delivery agent for the government of Ontario's 50 Million Tree Program. The program significantly cuts landowners' costs of large-scale tree planting and boosts the number of trees planted across the province. Visit www.treesontario.ca

About CAA South Central Ontario
As a leader and advocate for road safety and mobility, CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club which represents the interests of more than 1.9 million members. For over a century, CAA has collaborated with communities, police services and governments to help keep drivers and their families safe while travelling on our roads.

About CAA North & East Ontario
AA North & East Ontario provides roadside assistance to Members, along with an extensive array of travel and insurance services designed to suit the individual needs, wants and expectations of its Members. For more information, visit www.caaneo.ca.

About Enbridge Gas Distribution
Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. has a more than 165-year history and is Canada's largest natural gas distribution company. Enbridge Gas Distribution delivers safe, reliable natural gas in more than 100 communities across Ontario and is a leader in promoting energy efficiency programs. It is owned by Enbridge Inc., a Canadian-based leader in energy transportation and distribution and one of the 2013 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations. Enbridge Inc. has been selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers for 2013 and is one of Canada's Top 100 Employers. Enbridge Gas Distribution and its affiliates distribute natural gas to two million customers in Ontario, Quebec, New York State and New Brunswick. For more information, visit www.enbridgegas.com or follow us on Twitter @EnbridgeGasNews.

Help Us Save Our Environment. One Tree at a Time.

info@treesontario.ca    www.treesontario.ca


SOURCE Trees Ontario

Image with caption: "More than 300 community volunteers planted over 2,000 trees as part of Trees Ontario's annual community tree planting event in the Barrhaven neighbourhood of Ottawa. (CNW Group/Trees Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140503_C6395_PHOTO_EN_39940.jpg

For further information:

For more information, photos or to arrange an interview please contact: 

Shelley McKay      
Director of Communications & Development
Trees Ontario
e: smckay@treesontario.ca 
p: 416-646-1193 ext. 232   c: 416-619-0783

Michelle MacLeod 
Enbridge Gas Distribution
e: michelle.macleod@enbridge.com 
p: 416-495-5944  c: 647-521-6767