During the Earth Week celebration in Powell River this year, 1,080 trees were planted by community members on their properties in an event sponsored by Malaspina Land Conservancy Society (MLCS).
The event was created at a meeting last year when the MLCS board was discussing doing a local tree planting event, and at the same time how to honour Ted Crossley, a vice-president of the society who had recently died.
MLCS founder Janet Southcott said Crossley spent a great deal of his five years as director encouraging others to join the society and be involved in conserving the places people love. The board decided to combine both ideas and honour Crossley at a tree fundraising dinner at Little Hut Curry, calling it Ted talks to Trees.
“With owner Mohinder’s help it was a sold-out event and we raised $500,” said board member Lesley Thorsell. “Trees provide habitat for wildlife, they supply us with oxygen and are enormous carbon sinks in this time of climate change.”
With the $500 obtained through the fundraiser, Thorsell called PRT Growing Services in Campbell River and ordered 500 trees.
“The nursery manager loved the idea of greening our community so much they donated another 580, and that’s how we ended up with 1,080 trees,” said Thorsell. “MLCS wasn’t sure if the community would want that many trees but trusted it would all work out.”
A meeting was set up in March, but then COVID-19 happened, so everything was cancelled. The arrangement with the nursery was that the trees would be picked up when they turned the freezers off at the end of May.
Thorsell said as April progressed, it seemed to be getting hotter and drier in the forests, so it was decided to go and rescue the trees and get them in the ground.
“Amazingly enough, this all happened close to Earth Day and so through Facebook and Climate Action Powell River, the calls, texts and emails kept flooding in,” she added. “People really wanted the seedlings and were so happy to get them. We asked people to post pictures of them being planted as we all needed a positive event to share and feel that we are giving back to the planet.
“It’s important to recognize that even though COVID-19 is top dog right now, climate change is still there and we need to make new decisions and practices to be in harmony and balance with nature and trees.”
Thorsell said delivering trees was like being an eco-Santa and was a fun and heartfelt experience. It was done in a way that followed COVID-19 restrictions by leaving trees on doorsteps.
“Many more people would have liked trees,” said Thorsell.“The message was clear from people that there is a lot of logging happening on private and public lands. People are very interested in having buffers for themselves, to be surrounded by green. We will hopefully be able to make this an annual or even a semi-annual event, spring and fall.”
Thorsell said she loved giving a seedling to a co-worker’s five-year-old daughter, telling her that the tree will grow with her as she grows.
“You can help it grow by checking on it and watering it,” Thorsell told the girl. “She seemed to look at the seedling in a curious way and it was cute.”
Thorsell said Rob Southcott, board president, and the entire board of MLCS would like to say thanks to all the people who came forward to be foster parents to seedlings and plant on their property.
“Hope, love and restoration,” said Thorsell. “It’s a start.”