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Tree planting initiative grows in Barrie

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Living Green Barrie has a goal of planting 10,000 trees in the city.

On Monday, the organization held its first planting event of the year at Pringle Park.

"Right now, we are in a climate emergency. Right now, a lot of people are trying to figure out 'what can I do.' They feel almost powerless about it. Well, Planting a tree is one of the best things you can do for climate change," says Living Green Executive Director Andee Pelan.

The city is providing Living Green with funding for a residential tree-planting pilot project.

Currently, the city's forestry department only plants on city property, but over 75 per cent of the city is privately owned.

"If we can improve the tree canopy in the community, that will help pull more carbon out of the air and help achieve our goals. And one area that's been identified as an opportunity is private dwellings," says Barrie Energy Management Manager Adam McMullin.

"We chose one of the areas in town that had the lowest tree cover, and that was up near East Bayfield Area," says Andee Pelan, Living Green executive director.

Fifteen hundred letters were sent to homes in the area in August.

Living Green is now doing consultations with 10 homes that were selected on a first-come, first-serve basis.

"Then we work through sort of a decision matrix to make sure that they're getting the right tree in the right location. Do I want shade, do I want privacy, do I want birds? What is it you want the tree to do," says Pelan.

Clients can choose between 28 different species of trees that are all native to Barrie. Pelan says depending on funding, they hope to run this again next year.

"Then I'm going to come back and plant with them so they are part of it. We'll make sure it's planted to right way as well, so we're really giving the three every opportunity to grow into a mature tree someday," says Pelan.

Depending on what tree species residents choose, planting will occur at the end of October or next spring.

Another community tree-planting event will take place at Pringle Park on Oct 28.

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