If you think your community is looking a littler greener this spring, you just may be right. York Region planted more than 102,000 trees and shrubs last year as part of its commitment to increase the overall tree canopy cover to 35 per cent by 2031.
As part of its 2019 Greening Strategy to protect and enhance the natural environment, the Region also secured an additional nine hectares of environmentally significant land and took steps to its goal of increasing woodland cover to 25 per cent by 2031.
“These achievements set our course for residents to enjoy a high quality of life for generations to come,” says York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. The Greening Strategy focuses on four areas: Stewardship and Education, Enhancement and Rehabilitation, Environmental Land Protection and Preservation, and Leadership, Innovation and Knowledge.
The Region and its partners encouraged residents to nurture their own green thumbs by hosting nearly 300 events that were attended by more than 13,000 people. New initiatives included a pilot outdoor education program for seniors and preparation of the It’s in our Nature: York Regional Forest 20 Year Forest Management Plan 2019-2038.
“The Greening Strategy is innovative yet nimble in creating strong programs and partnerships,” says City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Mario Ferri, Chair of Environmental Services. “These programs provide local cities and towns and residents with opportunities to make meaningful contributions to building sustainable communities.”
The Region reports leveraging an additional $890,000 in funding to deliver successful partnerships with local municipalities, conservation authorities and non-government organization. It also secured $10 million in funding through Infrastructure Canada’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to support urban tree planting and new woodland creation across York over the next eight years.
Photo: A young resident plants a tree during Markham’s 10,000 Trees Annual Spring Planting in 2019.