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Forests Ontario landmark tree identification program is in full swing

April 3, 2017 - Forests Ontario is working with community members and TD across Ontario to celebrate Ontario’s living landmarks – Heritage Trees. An excellent example is how on Saturday, March 25, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, the congregation of St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church in Toronto, Forests Ontario and TD Bank Group representatives gathered to recognize the church’s majestic White Oak as a Heritage Tree. Forests Ontario extends our gratitude to TD for their support of the Heritage Tree Program, the premier for her support and the St. Cuthbert’s congregation for sharing their great white oak with us and the Leaside community. 

The next deadline for the consideration of nominated landmark or heritage trees is May 31, 2017; the second is September 22nd, 2017. The Heritage Tree Program enhances awareness of the cultural, historical, and ecological value of prominent trees across Ontario. A Forests Ontario Heritage Tree nomination documents trees associated with a historic person or event, or perhaps a tree growing on land that is historically significant or serves as a community landmark. 

“As a relatively young country, our oldest trees are biological monuments and witnesses to our nation’s history,” says Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “In our parks and backyards and along streets and trails we find trees that have inspired artworks, were planted by historical figures, or stand on the site of an event that shaped our history.”

“TD has long supported initiatives in support of a healthier future for Canadians,” says Carolyn Scotchmer, environment regional manager of TD Bank Group. “The Heritage Tree initiative is a celebration of our past, but also a reminder to all of us of the importance of caring for our trees and forests for future generations. We hope that this initiative will also encourage Ontarians to consider the incredible value of trees, not just environmentally, but in defining the character of our communities.”

A successful nomination will result in a tree specific recognition plaque, and a certificate recognizing that particular Heritage Tree. Each registered Heritage Tree will be located on both the Heritage Tree and Tree Bee websites. When a tree is selected for Heritage Tree status, nominators receive a one-year Forests Ontario membership and knowledge they have contributed to a greater understanding of the history of Ontario. More program details can be found at heritagetree.ca.

You don’t need to be an expert or even own a tree, anyone is able to nominate a tree for the Heritage Tree Program – whether it grows on their own property, public land or a friends or family member’s property. To begin nominating a tree, register as a nominator on the website and begin the online nomination process, but remember the May 31 and Sept. 22nd, 2017 deadlines.

A successful nomination application is expected to contain the following information:

  • Approximate measurements of the tree, the species, and location to provide to our evaluators.
  • Photos will help to tell the story –include a few with your application!
  • Rationale for why this tree, or the land on which it grows, is historic. You can draw evidence from archives, newspapers, and even verbal records to include in the supplementary documentation section.
  • If the tree is located on someone else’s property, a simple note that indicates consent or agreement to have their tree considered for Heritage Tree designation is critical.
What happens after you submit your Forests Ontario Heritage tree nomination before May 31 and Sept. 22? Your application will be quickly reviewed and complete applications will result in a tree evaluator arranging a site inspection. Evaluations are reviewed by Forests Ontario and nominators and landowners are notified of the results.

The Heritage Tree program will contribute to the future health of Ontario trees. Candidate Heritage Trees are assessed for size, form, shape, beauty, age, rarity, and genetic potential, since an important part of the Heritage Tree program is to enable Forests Ontario to locate potential native tree seed sources. Collecting seeds from these important trees will help ensure the successful planting of legacy trees for future generations to enjoy. The Heritage Tree program was developed in partnership with the Ontario Urban Forest Council.