A date, a promise made and kept, and a Trees Ontario Green Leader emerges



    TORONTO, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - It was 1973 and Ron Klages from Chesley, ON
(near Owen Sound) was on a date. They drove past a field filled with
glistening bales of straw. Although stark in appearance, there was something
about this particular location that caught his eye and captured his
imagination. At that moment, he turned to his date Georgina, who would later
become his wife and said, "We are going to own this land one day."
    Klages grew up on grain and wheat farms. As a young boy, he liked to
hunt, which fuelled his love for forests and wildlife. Over time he noticed
less wildlife and more crop land in the area. "I never understood why people
thought there was value in cropping poor land," says Klages. "There is so much
more value that can be derived from using your land to grow trees."
    "There are so many benefits to planting trees, like adding beauty to
enjoy and increasing property value, creating privacy from neighbours,
contributing environmental benefits to the area and providing a natural
habitat for wildlife."
    When Klages bought his first farm, he immediately planted 20 acres of
trees. He sold that property and moved to a larger farm where he planted
another 30 acres of trees. Within four years of selling both farms, all the
trees had been cut down and ploughed over.
    When the opportunity came to buy that first farm that had caught his eye,
Klages jumped at the chance to restore the natural habitat and bring back the
wildlife while creating a lasting legacy for his family and the Chesley
community.
    With more than 450 acres of land to plant, the Klages investigated tree
planting programs. Their research led them to the many programs offered by
Trees Ontario, including the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources' 50 Million
Tree Program. This program offers eligible landowners hands-on professional
help and advice from local tree planting agencies which will determine site
eligibility, allocate funding and coordinate planting.
    "It's a great program and I'm so happy to see the Ontario government is
encouraging people to help fight climate change by planting trees," said
Klages.
    In Chesley, the local planting agency is Lands and Forests Consulting,
which worked with the Klages at every step of the tree planting process. "The
folks at Lands and Forests Consulting were great to work with. They came out
to my property, discussed my needs, made recommendations on the types of trees
to plant, managed and executed the planting and took care of the subsidies,"
said Klages. "It ended up costing me $0.15 a tree. For the price alone, you'd
be a fool not to plant acres of trees, especially if you have tough or poor
agricultural land."
    Now that their tree planting is complete, Ron and Georgina look forward
to watching the seedlings become a magnificent forest filled with White Cedar,
White and Red Pine, Norway Spruce, and White and Red Oak. More importantly,
they are both excited about the legacy they will be leaving for their children
and grandchildren.
    Klages estimates that he has planted about half a million trees in his
lifetime. As a result of his commitment to making Ontario a greener place to
live both now and in the future, Klages has been designated as a Trees Ontario
Green Leader. This program was created by Trees Ontario to recognize
landowners that have made a significant commitment to tree planting and
environmental stewardship as part of the Ontario government's 50 Million
Program.
    "To this day, I am amazed at how many people have never planted trees,"
said Klages. "If people only knew how easy it is to do, the great incentives
available and the environmental benefits, we'd live in a much greener place."
    His land is planted to capacity but the drive to plant more has him
thinking of purchasing 200-400 more acres. You can bet if he does, it won't be
long before that land is full of tree seedlings forming the start of a new
forest.
    For more information about the 50 Million Tree Program and other tree
planting programs and incentives available to Ontario landowners, visit:
    http://www.treesontario.ca/programs.





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview please contact:
Victoria Ollers, GoldFenix Communications, tel: (416) 822-2288, email:
vo@goldfenixcom.ca; Paul Tyler, GoldFenix Communications, tel: (905) 235-7285,
e-mail: pt@goldfenixcom.ca


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