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Edmonton youth fight climate change one tree at a time

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Edmonton youth fight climate change one tree at a time
WATCH: Some young volunteers in Edmonton are hoping that by planting free trees they can add to the urban forest and help mitigate climate change – Oct 2, 2022

Some young volunteers in Edmonton are hoping that by planting free trees, they can add to the urban forest and help mitigate climate change.

Volunteers from PlantForever recently planted a free tree for homeowner Elizabeth Nash.

“I just moved here recently and I was looking for something to put into my front yard,” she said.

Read more: Survey finds Edmontonians increasingly concerned about climate change: city

The students donate their time and muscle to the non-profit, delivering trees, digging holes, watering and planting the trees.

“Our focus is on mitigating the climate crisis through building up the urban forest by private property tree planting,” explained Nathaniel Perumal, PlantForever’s vice president of operations.

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The group started in 2017 and is funded through donations.

To date, volunteers have planted 750 trees en route to a lofty goal of planting 17,000.

This is one example of the trees PlantForever has available. Courtesy: Nathaniel Perumal

Many of the tree plantings have been free of charge.

“As per our PlantForever policy, it is one tree free. That’s our way of encouraging homeowners to build more urban forests.

“Anyone looking for more than one tree, we’re happy to accommodate. We just ask for a minimum donation to help us keep doing what we’re doing, and that’s $10,” Perumal explained.

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Educator, student team up for Alberta Grade 1 tree mapping project

Homeowners or businesses go online and request trees, then they’re connected with volunteers who come deliver and plant them, or people can choose to plant the trees themselves.

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Khushee Shah volunteers with PlantForever every few weeks and said she’d recommend the experience to others.

“It’s a really good way to give back to the community and also meet new people, build connections.”

Homeowners also get to pick from one of four tree types.

“We have plenty of trees available: schubert chokecherries, like the one we planted today, bur oak — the ones with the tiny acorns — colorado spruce and of course amur maple trees,” Perumal explained.

Read more: Does your home or office hold the key to solving the climate crisis? Experts say yes

Over the years, Nash’s new tree will grow, turn carbon dioxide into oxygen and attract birds, bees and other insects to her yard.

“I love adding to all the trees in the neighbourhood. It’s so important for the environment, so important for neighbourhoods and it’s just creating beautiful spaces,” Nash explained.

That’s exactly why these passionate student volunteers are so dedicated to their mission.

“There’s so many different ways of mitigating the climate crisis but the most important one, and most feasible in our opinion, is just building urban forests one tree at a time.”

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PlantForever is always looking for additional volunteers and donations.

Click to play video: 'Help fight climate change in your own backyard'
Help fight climate change in your own backyard

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