Arbour Day attracts best crowd ever


Above:  York is U Arbour Day coordinators Marina Zhu (left) and Monica Radovski get to work

York’s population grew by 192 last week – that is, 192 new trees that will call the Keele campus home and add to its greening.

A group of 44 students and staff turned out Thursday for the semi-annual Arbour Day tree-planting sponsored by York is U. Three of the staff members were also along to talk to the group about trees, planting and the environment. John Wilson, manager of postal services at York and a long-time tree fancier, Steven Glassman, director of printing services at York, and Andrew Wilson, campus planner, spoke to the group. This, the fifth Arbour Day event, enjoyed the largest turnout and the largest number of plantings in the event’s history, said Jeremy Greenberg, coordinator, student alumni programs.

Michael GrahamThis year’s planting, in Danby Woods located south of the Physical Resources Building just east of the York Boulevard Parking Lot, saw the addition of 192 new trees – three native species including birch, cedar and elderberry and some lilac – which are a European introduction with a long history in Ontario. The planting will help widen the treed area that separates the parking lot from Keele Street.

Right: Michael Graham joins in the digging, in suit and tie (photo by Haider Nawab)

The event started with a parade of about 25 students all dressed in green and some with jester and circus hats with ringing bells on them. They paraded around campus handing out flyers and chanting at the top of their lungs, “come with us, right this way, plant a tree for Arbour Day”. This generated a lot of attention and led to some new tree planting recruits.

Speakers for the day included Glassman, who gave a talk on how the printing world is helping to save trees and his love of Ginkgo trees, which are one of four special tree types celebrated with special plantings on campus. John Wilson, formerly a landscaper with Facilities Services who has played a key role in every Arbour Day to date, told a humorous story on the value of trees. Andrew Wilson explained how the plantings would, over time, create a forest.

At this year’s event the trees planted ranged in size from under a metre to three metres in a variety of types. Michael Graham, assistant vice-president facilities services, even joined in the digging and planting despite being dressed in a suit and tie.


Above: Volunteers gather to listen to John Wilson talk about the value of trees

Left: Wilson (left) and Glassman share a shovel handle and a laugh

Below:  Volunteers Galina Balgur (left) and Michelle Liu celebrate the day (photo by Haider Nawab)