May 16, 2019 – The cancellation of the provincial 50 Million Trees program has generated a lot of conversation – and with good reason. As Ontario residents mop up from record flooding, and as climate change promises more intense weather to come, we need to be adding tree programs, not chopping them.
Trees are a vital part of a healthy environment: they clean our air, they create habitat, they capture carbon and they reduce runoff and erosion. They also help us fight floods like the one Ottawa saw this spring.
At the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), we’ve relied on the 50 Million Trees Program since 2007 to help us plant +200,000 seedlings every spring. Without it, we may find ourselves planting 20,000 trees instead of 200,000 – unless our generous community, corporate and individual supporters can help.
Under the program, landowners currently pay as low as $0.15 per tree, or $120 per acre, to reforest their retired farm fields and marginal lands. But without the provincial funding, tree planting will becoming unaffordable for many landowners and that will drastically reduce the number of trees being planted in the Rideau Valley watershed.
It will also mean local job losses. Our seedlings are grown at Ferguson Forestry Centre in Kemptville, which will face layoffs and financial losses because of the program cuts.
But all is not lost. We know there is an appetite in this community to work together to fight floods, combat climate change and make our community liveable now and in the future.
Donations, corporate sponsorships and community partnerships can save this cost-effective and successful tree planting program and continue growing a living legacy right here in our backyards.
And if we can do that, everybody wins.
To support the program, visit canadahelps.org or contact Diane Downey, executive director of the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation, a registered charity which supports the RVCA’s conservation and watershed management goals. She can be reached at email@example.com or 613-692-3571 ext. 1126.