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Barrie environmental organizations team up to protect trees

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Two major environmental organizations in Barrie joined forces to embark on a project that could have long-lasting effects on the community.

GreenWell Plastics has developed a protective octagon-shaped shield made from recycled materials to safeguard the bases of trees.

On Tuesday, Living Green Barrie took a tour of the manufacturing facility that converts plastic landfill into new products and resources.

The environmental organization has been around for over three decades and wanted to respond after seeing dozens of trees dying within the city.

"People tended to mow right up to the tree, get their weed trimmer out there, the tree starts to flounder, and then it dies, said Andee Pelan, Living Green Barrie's executive director. "We really wanted to find a way to get trees planted where the root zones will get protected. So, we can up with this idea of coming up with the 'trees for bees' we're calling it."

Since opening six years ago, GreenWell has diverted more than one million pounds from the landfill.

"We decided to maximize the value of plastics and thought we should start building some furniture. So, we've designed an octagon-shaped protector that will give the trees a better chance to grow up. Ten years from now, left outside, it's going to look exactly the same as the day we manufactured it," said Mark Cordner of GreenWell Plastics.

Living Green says it has plans for when the tree protectors are installed.

"A native tree is going to be planted in the centre of each of these little pods, and then a bunch of pollinator plants that bring in the birds and the bees and all the pollinators that we love," explained Pelan.

The Rotary Club of Barrie Huronia will be funding this pilot project, and the plan is to install the tree protectors at Batteaux Park at the end of April.

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