Arbor Day: Plant a Tree on Tuesday to help enhance York U’s urban forest

As part of York University’s Campus Sustainability Month activities, the Grounds Department invites faculty, staff and students to this year’s Arbour Day tree planting, taking place Tuesday, Oct. 24 in the afternoon from 2pm to 3pm on the Keele Campus. Volunteers are needed, and are invited to meet at 2pm in the York University Arboretum just south of the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence. No previous experience is required, and all materials will be provided.

Above: Some of the participants from last year’s Arbour Day

Up to 100 local trees, including red maple, sugar maple, white pine and white cedar, will be planted. Those interested in attending are reminded to wear sturdy footwear and appropriate clothing for the weather. In the event of heavy rain, the tree planting will take place the following day (Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 2pm) at the same time and location.

With urban and rural forests increasingly under threat, it is more important than ever to maintain a healthy tree canopy. Trees provide immeasurable value to the natural and urban environments, and to the quality of life of both humans and wildlife alike. An acre of trees can store 2.6 tons of carbon, while trees also provide protection from the wind, sun and soil erosion. Trees are also valuable natural habitat for birds, insects and other wildlife.

Trees also provide tangible economic benefits to urban and suburban areas. According to the City of Toronto, for every five per cent of tree cover area added to a community, storm water run-off is reduced by approximately two per cent. In addition, by generating oxygen, recycling water, and eliminating pollutants from the air, a single tree can provide thousands of dollars of economic value to a local community during its lifespan.

York’s Arbour Day tree planting is organized by the Grounds Department in Campus Services & Business Operations and is funded in part by the York University Bookstore. The Bookstore collects 15 cents for each plastic shopping bag purchased during the year and then donates the proceeds for tree purchases. This initiative has been in place for the last several years and has resulted in hundreds of new trees being planted on the Keele and Glendon campuses at York University.