Premier McGuinty Celebrates Earth Day With Tree Planting



    Government Supports 1.8 Million New Trees In Greenbelt To Fight Climate
    Change, Help Green Communities

    MARKHAM, ON, April 22 /CNW/ - The Ontario government is helping Ontarians
create a healthier environment, fight climate change and improve their
communities by providing funding to plant 1.8 million trees in the Greenbelt,
Premier Dalton McGuinty said today.
    "Earth Day is a great opportunity to celebrate Ontario's natural beauty
and a quality of life that is second to none - and it's up to all of us to
work together to protect and enhance our environment," said Premier McGuinty.
"By increasing the number of trees planted, we will reduce the impacts of
climate change, help control erosion and flooding, improve air and water
quality and provide a better quality of life for all Ontarians."
    The government has provided $2 million to the Trees Ontario Foundation.
The foundation intends to plant 1.8 million trees on the Greenbelt by 2010.
    "Planting trees restores and enhances wildlife habitat and plays an
essential role in conserving biodiversity in Ontario for the benefit of future
generations," said Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay. "The Trees Ontario
Foundation has the forestry experience and expertise to coordinate the
planting of large numbers of trees across the province."
    "This is an important initiative in our government's comprehensive
strategy on climate change, and our ongoing commitment to ensure a cleaner,
greener, more sustainable Ontario for ourselves and for our children," said
Environment Minister Laurel Broten.
    "This funding comes at a particularly crucial time. It now gives us
sustained annual funding which allows us to work closely with our partners in
coordinating tree planting across the province. The funding will now make it
possible to plan for a significant increase in annual planting levels,
particularly in areas of need," said John Cary, Chair of the Trees Ontario
Foundation.
    To plan and coordinate tree planting, the Trees Ontario Foundation will
work with the Ministry of Natural Resources, the province's conservation
authorities, the community-based stewardship councils of the Ontario
Stewardship program, and private tree planters. The Greenbelt Foundation will
also work with the Trees Ontario Foundation to plan and coordinate tree
planting on the Greenbelt.
    Investing in tree planting is just one way the McGuinty government is
promoting a healthier natural environment and acting to mitigate the effects
of climate change. Other initiatives include:

    
    -   Launching Ontario's first biodiversity strategy to protect the
        province's plants and wildlife and the habitats that support them
    -   Protecting 1.8 million acres of greenspace in the Greenbelt,
        providing a safe habitat for 66 species at risk
    -   Closing the single largest source of air pollution in the Greater
        Toronto Area - the Lakeview Generating Station, and
    -   Working with an alliance of organizations through the Natural Spaces
        program to develop the tools, incentives and on-the-ground activities
        that will encourage and support private landowners in conserving
        natural areas on their land.

    "We have an obligation to future generations to pass on a natural
environment that is healthy and communities that are strong," said Premier
McGuinty. "Planting trees is a solid investment that will provide our children
with beautiful spaces to enjoy and cleaner air to breathe for many years to
come."

    Disponible en français

                           www.ontario.ca/premier
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For further information: Premier's Media Office, (416) 314-8975

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