Ontario's First 50 Million Tree Weekend A Resounding Success

     Ontarians "Dig, Stomp and Mulch" Their Way to Planting Thousands of
                       Trees over Mother's Day Weekend

    TORONTO, May 9 /CNW/ - Ontarians will be waking up to a greener province
tomorrow thanks to many individuals and families who celebrated Mother's Day
weekend at Ontario's first ever 50 Million Tree Weekend.
    Beginning in Alliston, Guelph and Mississauga Friday May 8 and finishing
in Whitchurch-Stouffville (near Newmarket) and Kingston May 9, communities
have planted thousands of trees during the weekend's various local tree
planting events.
    Over the next six weeks, Trees Ontario is expected to plant approximately
two million trees as part of the Ontario government's 50 Million Tree program,
which will see 50 million trees planted in southern Ontario by 2020. This is
the single largest commitment to the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign
aimed at planting one billion trees worldwide each year.
    Donna Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources, attended the
Whitchurch-Stouffville event May 9 along with members from the Boys and Girls
Clubs, York Region, Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation, local community and
environmental groups and residents.
    "It was great to see so many families together planting trees on Mother's
Day weekend," said Cansfield. "It is important that Ontarians continue to
support local tree planting initiatives and for all of us to continue to do
our part to help green up the province, fight climate change and leave a
lasting legacy for future generations. It's easy to plant a tree - anyone can
do it!"
    In addition to tree planting activities at the Whitchurch-Stouffville
event, the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation helped to host a tree seed activity,
where participants could learn more about seed identification, collection and
planting on the Moraine. Individuals were even able to plant their own seeds
to take home and grow to further support the 50 Million Tree Weekend.
    Tree Ontario planting partners and forestry experts were onsite at all
events offering short tree planting tutorials to teach everyone the five easy
steps to planting a tree: dig the hole; place the tree in the hole; fill the
remaining part of the hole with soil; stomp down to compress the soil; and
place mulch around the tree base.
    Trees Ontario created the 50 Million Tree Weekend following an
overwhelming response to free tree planting workshops it hosted last fall and
winter. From those workshops, Trees Ontario secured a significant number of
tree planting commitments for this spring and wanted to make it even easier
for Ontarians to be aware of the program and take part in greening the
    "We are delighted by the success of the inaugural 50 Million Tree Weekend
and how Ontarians have embraced the importance and need to plant trees," said
Michael Scott, President and CEO of Trees Ontario. "By the end of May, with
our partners, we will have planted more than two million trees for this
program, which is a great start to our goal of planting 50 million trees by
the year 2020."
    Supporters of the 50 Million Tree Weekend included Home Depot (Alliston),
TD Friends of the Environment and Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation
(Whitchurch-Stoufville). In kind supporters included Starbucks
(Whitchurch-Stoufville), Tim Hortons (Kingston) and Hain Celestial (all
    To find out more information about the 50 Million Tree Weekend, visit:

    Trees Ontario

    Trees Ontario, working with its partners, is the largest, not-for-profit
tree planting partnership in North America. It is committed to the re-greening
of Ontario through a range of tree planting activities. Trees Ontario is also
partnering with the Ministry of Natural Resources to help deliver the Ontario
government's commitment to plant 50 million trees by 2020.
    The goal of Trees Ontario is to restore the province's tree planting
capacity, especially throughout southern Ontario on private lands, by
providing funding and planning support for its tree planting partners. These
include local Conservation Authorities, Ontario Stewardship Councils,
municipal governments and community volunteer groups.
    This spring, with its partners, Trees Ontario will plant close to 3
million trees. Visit the Trees Ontario website at www.treesontario.ca.

    50 Million Tree Program

    In August 2007, the Ontario government introduced a program to fund the
planting of 50 million trees across the province by 2020, as part of its
commitment to help fight climate change and green the province.
    The 50 Million Tree Program is Ontario's commitment to the United Nations
Billion Tree Campaign. The program is also the most ambitious program of its
kind in North America and the largest goal of any jurisdiction, anywhere.
    The 50 Million Tree Program can significantly cut landowners' costs of
large-scale tree planting and boost the number of trees planted.

For further information:

For further information: Paul Tyler, GoldFenix Communications, tel:
(416) 254-0698, email: pt@goldfenixcom.ca; Victoria Ollers, GoldFenix
Communications, tel: (416) 822-2288, email: vo@goldfenixcom.ca

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