Roughly 500 volunteers turned out under glorious skies on Saturday to help plant trees at Rotary Forest.
A retired corn field was the spot where people, most of them families, came out to plant 5,000 trees of various varieties that are part of the 40-hectare project located a stone’s throw from Guelph Lake Conservation Area.
The annual event was part of local Earth Day activities and included 45 Rotary and GRCA volunteers to help run the event.
“This is the 10th year of a 13-year project initiated by the Rotary Club of Guelph (Canada, District 7080) in partnership with Grand River Conservation Authority,” explained Sharon Rice of Rotary.
“We have all kinds of people out today. There are two kids here today celebrating their birthdays. One’s a little 10-year-old girl whose parents do something like this every year and she’s brought her birthday party out here,” Rice said.
The forest is expected to be completed in 2020 and will include 55,000 trees, all indigenous to Canada.
This year, Rice explained, the project is recognising Canada’s 150th birthday by planting a huge maple leaf, 60 metres wide and 50 metres long, made up of 150 cedars on the edge and maple leaf trees on the interior.
“In a few years, whenever everybody has a drone, you’ll be able to fly over this and see the shape. You’ll be able to see it from a satellite too,” Rice said.
Rick Johnstone and his family were out, planting cedars for a couple of hours.
“It was a nice day and a nice way to do something as a family,” Johnstone said as his youngest played in the mud as his other two children helped with the planting.
“It’s a great project and a great way to help teach the kids about about the environment,” he said.