Tuesday was Earth Day, which has evolved and grown in importance around the world since its beginnings in 1962.
Groups get together and tackle the clean-up of beaches, shorelines, and vacant lots, plant trees, and work to make their communities and the world a better place.
I enjoyed listening to CBC out of Toronto this past Sunday morning when they were talking about developing the urban forest. It preceded my going outside and doing some shrub and tree trimming in my yard.
It focused on planting trees in our communities to soften sounds, provide shade, and create an environment that attracts birds.
Back in the late 1970s, when a huge number of elm trees with their majestic branches arching over streets died away, the Fort Frances Jaycees for two years put in place a program called the “Greening of Fort Frances.”
Boise Cascade (as the mill was then known) came on board and financed the planting of the “flowering crabs” on Church Street, as well as paid for the planting of the basswood trees on the courtyard of the town hall.
The parks department went out of its way and made available to residents three types of trees—ash, maple, and basswood. Fort Frances residents were encouraged to plant those trees in their front yards or on their boulevards.
The town allowed for special consideration to put the trees on the boulevards.
Today when you drive along Second Street East, most of those trees that you see along the boulevard were planted at that time and today are making the town more attractive.
In Toronto, to continue making new subdivisions attractive and to encourage tree-planting in the city, the city makes trees available to citizens. The trees must be ordered in advance, and the city makes recommendations as to what species are most appropriate.
Walking through Melbourne, Brisbane, and Cairns in Australia, and even Sydney, I was taken back by the park-like atmosphere of those large urban centres.
The Australians have spent a lot of time making their cities attractive with parks. I am told Canberra, the capital, is a city designed inside of a park.
We may say we have lots of forests and trees surrounding us, but trees spread throughout the community offer wind buffers in the winter and a respite from the heat of the sun in summer for walkers strolling our streets.
If you walk along the riverfront here in Fort Frances, you can’t help but notice what a difference those trees already are making in turning the area into a walking park.
You can add to the park atmosphere of Fort Frances by adding a tree to your yard this year. It is a great family day activity for Earth Day.
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