TORONTO – Edith George not only loves the great outdoors, she loves trees and has dedicated much of her life to preserving them.
“It’s my grandfather’s fault,” says George. “He had a small piece of land up near Kleinburg and I spent my summers with my grandparents. He taught me to love the land.”
That love for land, trees and planting are what led George to LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests), a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest. The organization offers a wide array of programs that relate to education, planting, and stewardship.
“It’s very important for the first few years of a tree’s life to water regularly,” says Brenna Anstett, an arborist who works for LEAF. “I like to compare that with pets. You wouldn’t buy a new puppy and not feed it. It’s the same thing with trees. They’re living beings.”
LEAF’s Backyard Tree Planting Program offers native trees and shrubs to homeowners at a subsidized cost. Arborists and homeowners then work together to make an educated decision about what type of tree is best suited for their backyard and where it should be planted.
Anstett, who worked with George last year to plant a tulip tree in her backyard, says the enthusiastic preservationist is the perfect candidate for the program.
“Edith is known as the tree hugger in the City of Toronto, she is very involved in heritage trees and in trying to protect those existing trees. We were very thrilled that she wanted to be apart of our program to start growing a tree in her own backyard.”
As for George , the homeowner has no plans of halting her tree-planting efforts anytime soon.
“Last year I chose a Magnolia tree. The leaves on it are spectacular, the flowers are like tulips, various bees get nectar from them, birds eat the seeds…this year, I want to plant another Pawpaw tree.”