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Presenter distributes seedlings at City of Powell River meeting

Councillors hear talk on planting of 10,000 fir trees during past five years
PROTECTING HERITAGE: Powell River resident Lesley Pihl outlined a campaign to distribute fir seedlings to residents here to plant. Pihl outlined that trees serve as an important buffer for absorption of carbon emissions plus other vital functions.

An impassioned presentation in City of Powell River council chambers took root with councillors.

At the April 16 committee of the whole meeting, Lesley Pihl, a Malaspina Land Conservancy Society director, said the nonprofit, charitable organization is committed to long-term protection of natural heritage.

“We engage in stewardship, restoration and management of lands and our vision is people living in a healthy, diverse region, where respect for the natural world is paramount,” said Pihl. “In 2019 we began a fir seedling fundraiser project,” said Pihl. “I found a nursery in Campbell River and with Facebook advertising we were able to efficiently drop off seedlings. This gave us the ability to continue through the pandemic and not miss any deliveries.”

Pihl said each year, more trees were added and this year’s delivery was 2,040. She said because of local enthusiasm, a grand total of 10,000 trees have been planted over the last five years.

“We are very proud of that,” said Pihl. “I love this quote: ‘The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.’ In other words, do something now to benefit future generations without expecting anything back in return.”

Pihl said the 10,000 trees may not seem like a huge amount of trees to some. She said there are 30 logging trucks going by each day in Lund and tree islands floating behind tugboats on the ocean.

“I wonder how many bird nests and bear dens are being destroyed, but planting a seedling is planting hope,” said Pihl. “It’s a promise to the next generation. It’s nice to see that provincially and federally, seedlings are also being planted.

“I don’t know if we can tax our way out of the climate crisis but we can plant our way out of one. Through planting trees and regenerative farming that does not use pesticides, regenerative farming actually absorbs carbon instead of emitting it.”

Two mature trees will provide enough oxygen for a family of four and two trees absorb 90 pounds of carbon per year, according to Pihl.

“Besides absorbing carbons, they help prevent soil erosion, provide nutrients and food, help people heal, help reduce noise, lower temperatures, and provide canopy and habitat for wildlife,” said Pihl. “They also reduce drought, help capture rainfall, clean air pollutants and are the number one solution to climate change. They are our superpower and an essential component to human life on earth.”

Pihl said she had helped a grade two and three class in planting some seedlings in an area called the secret forest. She said some of the students felt connected to the trees after planting them. One student called her tree Lily and told the teacher that if the teacher wanted to find her, she would be hanging out with her tree.

“That is what it’s all about, making the connection between nature and us,” said Pihl. “As William Shakespeare said long ago, one touch of nature makes the whole world kin. My personal vision is for residents to have a plot of land donated for future generations to sit in the shade of trees – an area where children and families can plant and know their tree will be with them next year.”

Pihl then distributed trees to councillors and people in the gallery who wanted them.

Councillor Cindy Elliott said when she was a little girl, she planted a tree at her mother’s house, and it is currently a full-grown, huge tree that blocks all light from her mother’s home.

“I just want people who are planting a tree to imagine it very big and make sure you put it in the right place,” said Elliott.

Pihl added that those planting the trees should make sure to water them for the first year or so.

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