This past Saturday was the annual Earth Day Tree Planting in Orangeville and once again the community came out in great numbers to get 450 trees and shrubs in the ground.
For the fourth year I was lucky to be helping Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) at this event as one of their volunteer leaders (there were four of us there as volunteer leaders). The event always seems to falls on trout opener, so this year I got up a little early and ran down the driveway to the creek to take a few casts before leaving. That early start had quite a chill in the air and had me throwing on an extra shirt before I left the house.
Once arriving at Rotary Park, it was obvious that the brilliant sunshine and clear blue sky had fooled more than a few people into thinking it was actually warm out. A cool wind raced down the line of registration tables (the Rotary Club’s Garbage Cleanup makes up the other half of the event each year), making it hard to hold onto sign-in sheets while shivering volunteers filled in their information as quickly as possible to get their hands out of the cold. Turnout was up noticeably this year and the two of us at the registration table came close to needing more papers to get everyone signed up.
Year after year I am blown away by the community involvement at the Orangeville tree planting. Other tree plantings I attend fail to attract as many volunteers and as much community support. Many of the same faces keep coming back, eager to pitch in and do their bit to make their town a healthier place. Quite a few Girl Guides and Scouts groups attended the event, and a few teenagers took advantage of a fun morning of digging in the dirt to earn some volunteer hours. It’s just as important for people to enjoy themselves at events like this, as it is for the trees to get in the ground.
The trees were planted behind the Best Western hotel and in the stormwater pond adjacent to the hotel. Maples, birches, spruces, dogwoods, and other native trees and shrubs now dot the areas, providing improved scenery, habitat for wildlife, water quality benefits, and improved air quality. As the trees grow they will also provide a barrier from the traffic noise on Highway 10. It’s amazing how much of a long-lasting benefit there will be thanks to a few hours of work by a great group of volunteers.
It felt like no time at all before the last tree was in the ground and the last shovels were stowed in the trailer. The Rotary Club finished off the great event by holding a BBQ for all those involved.
Volunteering provides as many benefits for the people doing the volunteering as it does for the cause they are helping out. At this time of the year there are always environment-related volunteer events like tree plantings, and more volunteers are always needed. Donate a morning of your time one weekend, help a good cause, meet great people, and leave with a smile. The 2016 Earth Day Tree Planting in Orangeville left many people with a warm smile on their face, despite the chilly start.
CVC has all sorts of volunteer events coming up in the next couple of months. Check out their Events Calendar for more information.