A tree planting celebration was hosted in Swift Current on Monday afternoon as Tree Canada helped the community recognize Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Three trees, including one Autumn Blaze Maple, were planted at the Central Avenue Flag Court on September 18 after Swift Current was the successful recipient of a $5,000 Canada 150 grant from Tree Canada. Tree Canada is hosting 150 similar plantings coast-to-coast as a special commemoration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. The national initiative was coordinated by Tree Canada with the financial support of CN and the Government of Canada.
Darcy Schenk, the South Saskatchewan advisor to the Tree Canada Foundation, said the Canada 150 tree planting is an important legacy project.
“When I look around I see the beautiful work that’s been done. We’re most pleased to be able to give you a grant to get the work done that needs to be done,” Schenk said. “This is an important thing to do. Canada is all about environment and sustainability, and what a better way to do it.”
“It was important to Tree Canada to work with municipalities to plant as many trees as we could throughout the country,” he said of the 150 legacy project.
In advance of the tree planting, Elder Noel Starblanket from the Starblanket Reserve led a smudge ceremony at the planting site and spoke of the importance of trees and nature to the Cree culture.
“When we plant trees like this we consider them to be brothers of those trees that give their lives to human beings to help,” Elder Starblanket told the audience at the tree planting. “We ask them to stand up… and help this community, help the people in this community to recognize the beauty that you bring to our mother – our mother the earth.”
Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault noted the Central Avenue Flag Court location was one of the project locations during the Go Green Friday effort on September 15. So the additional funding at this location helps expand the scope of their work.
“Our parks, in my opinion, are one of our greatest assets. It’s one of the reason why we’ve got people continually coming back from just as a visitor but also coming to stay,” Perrault said.
The flag court on Central Ave. is in the midst of a refurbishment project. In addition to the new plantings during Go Green Friday, city crews will be installing new flag poles, adding new signage, plus using a tree spade to remove some of the existing trees at the site and transplanting them to the nearby Kiwanis Park. The tree relocation is necessary because flags flying at the location are currently getting tangled in the trees.
Swift Current has received a trio of TD Green Streets Grants over the years, with that urban forestry and greening program serving as the flagship program of Tree Canada, Canada’s only nationally-based municipal forestry innovation program. Green Streets Canada provided $15,000 in funds to the community in 2015, 2014, and 2012.