Initiative will have a positive impact on habitat restoration and urban reforestation
On Friday, Nov. 13, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) completed the planting of 128 trees across the Niagara Peninsula watershed. Thanks to funding from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF), partners and volunteers planted trees and shrubs to benefit the local community and improve wildlife habitat.
The TD Tree Days grant of $8,000 supported the planting of eight large trees and twenty shrubs at Ferndale Park in Fort Erie, six trees at the Niagara Chapter Native Women’s office, four trees donated to Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre and an additional 110 trees, which were planted at homes owned by two native housing corporations.
“We are thankful for the support of Wendy Sturgeon from Niagara Chapter – Native Women Inc. for her guidance and for connecting us with Ganawageh Urban Homes and Oonuhseh Niagara Native Homes to enable this wonderful initiative to move forward,” says Kerry Royer, Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at NPCA. “These programs and initiatives are at the heart of what we do, from improving the health of our watershed, to ensuring that our communities all have opportunities to connect with the nature that surrounds us. Over the next two years, we will continue to monitor the health of the trees and shrubs planted at each site to ensure a survival rate of approximately 75 per cent.”
In recent years, the Oonuhseh and Ganawageh native housing properties lost many of its trees due to the destructive Emerald Ash Borer— an invasive wood-boring insect that has been devastating the native ash trees across Ontario. As many communities have also lost hundreds of trees from woodlots, parks, properties, and public spaces, it has become increasingly more expensive to remove dead ash trees, let alone replace them. “The priority for this TD FEF grant was to provide trees and shrubs for distribution to these local Indigenous families and have a direct positive impact on their greenspace,” says Carolyn Scotchmer, Executive Director of TD FEF. “While trees provide an important connection to nature, they can also help reduce energy expenses by providing shading and cooling, and wind shelter and other environmental benefits.”
In Indigenous communities, trees and shrubs hold value for many reasons. “Trees are sacred because from time immemorial they have taught us how to live, they have sheltered us and healed us when we are ill. Their barks have provided implements and tools, they are fuel for fires, and are sources of food,” says Wendy Sturgeon, Executive Director of Niagara Chapter – Native Women Inc. “They’ve helped sustain us when we cry, and their ever-living laughter and brightness lightens our hearts.”
“To bring together volunteers from the NPCA, Town of Fort Erie, and Niagara Chapter – Native Women Inc. during these challenging times is difficult in itself, but with the right safety precautions, we have demonstrated that together we can accomplish a lot, and that important environmental work can continue with strong corporate supporters like TD,” adds Chandra Sharma, NPCA CAO/Secretary Treasurer.
Learn more about the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority at www.npca.ca. Follow Facebook and Twitter for more updates.
The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is a community-based natural resource management agency that works to protect, enhance, and sustain healthy watersheds. With 60 years of experience, the NPCA offers watershed programs and services that focus on flood and hazard management, source water protection, species protection, ecosystem restoration, community stewardship, and land management.
The NPCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in the Province of Ontario and manages 41 Conservation Areas within the Niagara Peninsula watershed held in public trust for recreation, heritage preservation, conservation, and education. These natural and shared greenspaces marry nature, culture, and adventure to create limitless opportunities for discovery.
About Niagara Chapter Native Woman Inc.:
The Niagara Chapter Native Woman Inc. has been active for over 40 years and is a self-funded not-for profit organization and fully registered charity supporting urban and rural Indigenous women and families through educational programs, collaboration with school boards, police services and family, children services and the justice systems.
About Ganawageh Urban Homes:
Ganawageh Urban Homes is a non-profit organization which provides affordable income-sensitive housing for low to moderate income Indigenous and other families. Offers family dwelling homes along with Elders units. Does not have apartments.
About Oonuhseh -Niagara Native Homes:
For the past 30 years, Oonuhseh has provided and maintained rental housing units for low to moderate-income Indigenous families in the Niagara Region. Oonuhseh Niagara Native Homes Inc. has successfully managed a scattered 32-unit non-profit housing corporation that provides services to help Indigenous families become safely and comfortably housed. This non-profit housing organization assists in providing culturally based supports that are critical for the lasting success of the residents. Oonuhseh recognizes the central role that affordable housing provides in ensuring stability for households in the Indigenous community.