Ten Tall Trees is our core program that connects young people in the schools to the trees around them. Every child and person should be able to identify ten different species of trees including 3-4 different conifers. What attributes distinguish these trees. Oak, maple, willow, birch, poplar, linden, spruce, pine and cedar would be a good start for rich biodiversity. We add varying combinations according to the ones in the schoolyard, the ones on the streets and the ones that are absent but should be there.
Where is the closest oak tree to one’s home? Oak trees are at the top of the food chain for pollinators. Over 500 different species need an oak leaf to complete their life cycle. We need to put them back into our communities. We need to take care of our trees.
Trees tie us to our heritage and the Indigenous community since the settlers would not have survived without their shared knowledge of making spruce or cedar tea to cure and prevent the deadly ‘scurvy’ in winter months. Where are our heritage trees and our mothering trees. Old trees have increasing value around and under them. Trees are foundational to our waterways, underground water, wetlands and all the species that live therein. Clean water and clean air are markers of good societies. And we know they provide habitat and food for the birds and pollinators that are in diminishing numbers due to loss of trees in hedgerows, forests and our municipalities.
The TTT program includes identification and appreciation of our great artists of trees: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, Emily Carr and Blake Debassige in particular. With a full time nature coordinator for the Yorklands we could deliver nature in the city “walks and talks” plus our established Ten Tall Trees program for grades 5-9 in many schools. This could prepare our city to meet the stresses that are bearing down on us from climate change and a heating world.
Our mental and physical health needs tree connections also. Research shows that walking among trees is a kind of brain food for more clear thinking, calming and enjoyment.
The Key Programs of the Yorklands Green Hub are delivered by our amazing team of volunteers! This year we have been leading them mostly outdoors and off site while we wait to run a full outdoor education program at the former Ontario Reformatory. If you are interested in funding part of these programs, please contact us at [email protected]nhub.ca