Patricia Harvey plants 50,000 trees on the family's 1796 property to
celebrate her husband's love of botany
ADDISON, ON, Sept. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - One little stone house started it
all. The Harvey's purchased their 1796 property while busy teaching in
Ottawa. The couple desired a quiet place away from their bustling lives
in the city, and purchased the property after Patricia fell in love
with the stone house that is the centre piece of this 260 acre farm.
The land was originally settled in 1796 by English Patriots who
acquired it through a British Government program that offered free land
to those immigrating to Canada. After a string of owners, the Harvey's
purchased the property and although they didn't initially live on the
property, the Harvey's did enjoy its farmhouse as a seasonal residence.
"When we were teaching, Mr. Harvey and I were up here every weekend. It
was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Ottawa," said Patricia.
"We restored parts of the house and enjoyed taking pictures of the
plants and wildlife here. My husband taught botany, so he photographed
every inch of the place because there are so many interesting plants."
To honour the memory of her late husband, she and a friend started
researching options for large tracts of idle farmland. In 2010, Mrs.
Harvey saw an advertisement in which Rideau Valley Conservation
Authority (RVCA) and Trees Ontario were hosting a landowner workshop
that highlighted the necessity of re-greening the province and the
resources available to property owners interested in getting involved.
Landowners with 2.5 acres or more of open land are eligible to take
advantage of subsidies to plant trees through the 50 Million Tree
Program (50MTP) - a program introduced by the Ontario government that
will see 50 million trees planted in southern Ontario. The program is
administered by Trees Ontario who works with local planting partners
including RVCA to provide eligible landowners with hands-on
professional help and advice on tree planting and full tree planting
services including determining site eligibility, allocating funding and
Excited to get started, Mrs. Harvey invited RVCA's Dan Cooper to conduct
an assessment of the property, discuss her tree planting goals and
develop a planting strategy for her 60 plantable acres. They focused on
the north half of the property that was wet in areas. "There is an
abundance of abandoned farmland here in the East," says Dan Cooper,
Forestry Program Manager, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. "The
land here can be difficult to farm and is therefore ideally suited to
these tree planting programs. We work with the landowner to help create
a naturalized area and use subsidy programs to manage the process and
drastically reduce the planting and maintenance costs to the landowner.
Most planting projects cost about 15 cents per tree and we handle
everything." The full cost of tree planting can be as high as $2,000
per acre. The 50 MTP reduces the landowner costs to as low as $150 per
acre, depending on local site conditions.
Once Mrs. Harvey and Dan discussed her goals for the property, RVCA
developed a plan for the wetlands, low lying lands and upland areas.
Species were selected that were suitable for the site and met Mrs.
Harvey's goals for her property. Dan was sure to discuss the planting
process and future maintenance of the trees to ensure high survival
The site was prepared in the fall of 2010 and the following spring they
planted 24,000 trees, including white spruce, white pine, cedar and
tamarack. RVCA handled every aspect of the planting and are now
monitoring the survival of the trees and providing support to ensure
these seedlings survive to grow into a forest. "I was involved in the
process and Dan held my hand every step of the way," said Mrs. Harvey.
"I liked the process so much that I decided to do it again the next
This spring 2012, the property was planted with another 26,000 trees of
the same species, but this time, Mrs. Harvey added a few oak, walnut
and maple. "This is now a place to enjoy natural beauty and wildlife. I
see so many more bird and animal species including grosbeaks, hawks,
fox and even coyotes. I love my new trees," explains Mrs. Harvey.
Mrs. Harvey has been recognized as a Trees Ontario Green Leader to award
her commitment to the environment. "Mrs. Harvey is well deserving of
the Green Leader award for her dedication and stewardship of the land,"
says the Honourable Michael Gravelle, Ontario's Minister of Natural
Resources. "Planting trees under the 50 Million Tree Program is a great
option for landowners who want to plant a legacy for future generations
and contribute to achieving the 30 per cent forest cover required to
maintain a healthy sustainable environment."
"This is truly a gift that she's given the local community. The
naturalization of the area will contribute to the region's
biodiversity, encourage species resiliency to climate change, and add
to the economic and social fabric of the entire area," adds Rob Keen,
CEO, Trees Ontario. "The 50 Million Tree Program offers landowners the
opportunity to plant trees affordably, and leave a lasting legacy for
As for Mrs. Harvey's advice to other landowners who are thinking about
planting trees on their properties? It's simple. "Just contact Trees
Ontario and check out the programs available. There is a lot of support
and there are many incentives to help you achieve your tree planting
For more information about the 50 Million Tree Program and other tree
planting programs, as well as local tree planting workshops to help you
get started, visit: http://www.treesontario.ca/program
Image with caption: "Trees Ontario Green Leader Patricia Harvey planted 50,000 trees on her Leeds Grenville County property (CNW Group/Trees Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120919_C7791_PHOTO_EN_18124.jpg
SOURCE: Trees Ontario
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