Third Annual Toronto Zoo Plant Increases GTA Forest Cover CAA South Central Ontario employees, friends and families join Forests Ontario for Toronto Zoo tree plant

TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - For the third year in a row, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) joined Forests Ontario at the Toronto Zoo for an employee tree plant. CAA SCO has been an incredible supporter of Forests Ontario's mission to make our province greener and healthier, helping us plant more than 35,000 trees to date through community and employee tree planting events. Nearly 100 CAA SCO volunteers joined us on Saturday morning to plant 80 large trees at the Toronto Zoo.

Forests Ontario holds several tree planting events every year, inviting community members to help us plant trees on public lands. In 2014, volunteers have helped us to plant over 5,000 trees across the province.

Forests Ontario's goal in organizing these plantings is to bring community members together to become actively involved in making Ontario greener and healthier and spread the message about the importance of abundant forests to our own health and well-being.

The major message of the day was that all the trees we plant in Ontario combine to make-up one big healthy forest that serves our entire population. "The amazing thing about trees is that they know no boundaries in the benefits they provide, including clean water, reduced noise pollution, protection from solar radiation, and beautiful spaces where we can camp, hike, and explore Ontario's incredible biodiversity," Rob Keen, Forests Ontario CEO, proclaimed in his address opening the event. "The trees we plant today will benefit all Ontarians."

Through conservation education programs and ongoing research into the effects of habitat fragmentation, the Toronto Zoo has demonstrated an incredible commitment to keeping our ecosystems healthy. Forests Ontario is grateful to the Zoo for hosting this event and helping us bring greater attention to issues like biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.

The health of Ontario's forests is vital to our individual health. Our forests clean our air, filter our water, act as a buffer against the effects of climate change, and provide shade from harmful solar radiation. The trees planted at the Toronto Zoo are part of the nearly three million that Forests Ontario plants every year to make Ontario greener and healthier. Visit forestsontario.ca to learn more about our planting programs and how you can become a sponsor, donor, or volunteer.

About 50 Million Tree Program

Trees Ontario, the forest restoration arm of Forests Ontario, administers the Ontario government's 50 Million Tree Program, part of the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign. The United Nations' goal is to plant one billion trees worldwide each year. Ontario is committed to plant 50 million trees by 2025.

The goals of the program are to sequester carbon, enhance and diversify Ontario's landscape, increase the capacity to withstand climate change, and increase wildlife habitat. The 50 Million Tree Program is designed to significantly reduce the costs to landowners of large-scale tree planting and thereby increase the number of trees planted across the province.

About Forests Ontario

Forests Ontario was created in 2014 as a result of the merging of not-for-profit organizations Trees Ontario and the Ontario Forestry Association (OFA). Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario's forests. Forests Ontario and its 85 provincial partners work to protect, renew and manage forest resources through programs, services and advocacy.

Image with caption: "CAA SCO employees and their families planted trees today with Forests Ontario at the Toronto Zoo. (CNW Group/Trees Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140927_C2603_PHOTO_EN_6073.jpg

SOURCE: Trees Ontario

For further information: For more information, photos or to arrange an interview please contact: Shelley McKay??????, Director of Communications & Development??? Forests Ontario???????, 144 Front Street West, Suite 700????, Toronto, ON, M5J 2L7???????, e: smckay@forestsontario.ca ?????p: 416-646-1193 ext. 232???

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