On 12 November 2017, students of Marc Garneau and members of the Kiwanis Key Clubs of the Toronto Area came together to plant trees in the Seton Woods. The tree planting was part of the biannual initiative to rehabilitate the area. Led by arborist Stephen Smith, participants planted over ninety trees, and mulched and examined trees from previous plantings as well.

MGCI students at Key Clubs’ tree planting. Photo Courtesy of Lakith Ranaweera

The event began at 11:00 am and continued until 4:00 pm. Students met outside of MGCI at around 10:30 am to begin walking to the Seton Woods. Upon arrival, Smith taught the group how to properly plant the trees. Following the demonstration, people began working in small groups across the designated area. After planting, participants dug up dead plants and put mulch around previously planted trees. Smith also explained how to identify different trees, as each individual was given a species to count as part of the site survey. When asked about the activities Smith said, “It was really excellent. Work was getting done quickly and people seemed to be having a lot of fun.” Refreshments and lunch were provided for participants.  

Although the tree planting was mainly an event for Key Clubs and Scout groups, MGCI Key Club encouraged all students to join them and partake in the activities. The event was advertised on Facebook and executives distributed posters during Key Club meetings. Other schools that participated include AY Jackson SS, Don Mills CI, and Harbord CI, with approximately seventy participants in total.

Among the participants was Scout Leader, Key Club advisor, and former President of the Kiwanis Club of East York, Mike Young, and his son Kenny Young. The initiative was started in 1998 by Mr. Young’s eldest son, who was in the Scouts at the time, to rehabilitate the area near the Don Valley Parkway damaged by the salt from the winter. The project has since expanded beyond the Scouts, and is a focal point in the community. “My brother wanted to rejuvenate the area,” Kenny said, “I hope that soon other areas can go through the same process because more and more places are looking less green due to urbanization.” The initiative is supported by the TD Bank Friends of the Environment fund, and in the future, coordinators hope to add plaques and signs to change the region into a trail area.

When asked for her thoughts on the event, Maggie Xu, President of MGCI Key Club, said, “It was so great to see people come out and devote their time to helping the community. I hope that more students will participate in events like this in the future.” The next tree planting will take place in April 2018.