ReLeaf in sight for trees

Foundation proposes replanting trees downed during winter storms

Trees uprooted around the province in the past few months should be replaced, says the president of the Tree Canada Foundation.

The foundation has established the B.C. Coast ReLeaf Fund to restore trees destroyed by heavy snows and winds in recent weeks, said its president, Michael Rosen.

“The loss of trees, many of which are older and lend a unique character, is a terrible loss to communities,” Rosen said. “We are urging Canadians to help – to show the same generosity they showed during the B.C. fires in 2003 and Hurricane Juan in the Maritimes. Our foundation is pledging to help communities and the forests recover from this incredible devastation.

“We’ve started funds for similar type natural disasters since 1996,” he added.

Tree Canada helped with ReLeaf funds in the B.C. Interior after the wildfires of 2003, in the Maritimes after Hurricane Juan in 2003, in Saskatchewan during the 2000 Dutch elm disease outbreak, and across eastern Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick after the 1998 ice storms.

“We saw what was happening … it looked a lot like Hurricane Juan in Halifax,” Rosen explained.

So the foundation formed the latest B.C. ReLeaf program. The protocol is to work on getting donations first and then work out the particulars later.

Tree Canada works with community leaders and Tree Canada’s community advisers to ensure that appropriate trees are planted in the right places.

Rosen is planning a trip to B.C. in late February to establish where work and replanting is needed.

In Kelowna after the forest fires, Tree Canada collected about $50,000 to replant the area.

About 200 homes were lost during those fires.

“But there were many, many homes where the homes were saved but they lost many trees,” Rosen said.

His group helped local municipalities replant municipal parks. Tree Canada also developed a system where the municipality got a reduced rate on local nursery trees for private residents who lost trees.

A seedling, including planting, costs about $4, Rosen explained.

“Once you get into planting trees in the city you’re forced to plant larger and larger stock,” he added.

Larger trees for parks can cost $40 to $50 each or as much as hundreds of dollars each. Kelowna replanting utilized a mix of tree sizes.

Due to clean-up time needed, plus availability of seedlings and trees, replanting would likely be started in the spring of 2008.

Though the foundation has some money already, the cash isn’t exactly rolling in.

“It’s not horribly strong (donations).We’re attributing that to the holiday period,” Rosen said. “We have a lot of corporate people who sponsor us and support us.”

Individual and corporate donations can be made through the Tree Canada website at or by mailing a cheque, made out to B.C. Coast ReLeaf, to Tree Canada Foundation, 222 Somerset St. West, Ottawa, Ont., K2P 2G3.

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