Holy carbon sink! League of Trees takes on climate change

Published: October 5, 2020

Move over Groot, there are new arboreal superheroes in town. The League of Trees, a public education and tree-planting campaign that encourages Ontarians to embrace their inner 8-year old superhero fanatic, reimagines Ontario’s iconic tree species as the stars of 1980s-style Saturday morning cartoon.

In a shareable online video, the League of Trees put their powers into action to save the world from pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change. Every time the video is shared online, or the hashtag #LeagueofTrees is used on social media, the campaign organizers, which include Ontario Power Generation, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Bruce Trail Conservancy, and LEAF, have committed to planting a native tree in Ontario, up to a maximum of 500,000 trees.

The League of Trees video spotlights three species of tree assembling their own leafy version of the Avengers: Eastern White Pine, Sugar Maple, and Bur Oak. But in reality this superhero team is much bigger. Ontario is home to 85 billion trees, all of which contribute to fighting climate change. “A league of trees is a forest,” says Jill Murray-Dimic, Manager of Major Gifts for the Nature Conservancy of Canada – Ontario Region. “All trees help sequester carbon, they help mitigate flood control, they add to the beauty around us, and they give us spaces to walk in and enjoy the fall colours.”

The campaign is Ontario-wide, and the organizers are committed to planting trees across the province. One of NCC’s properties targeted for planting is in the Lower Maitland River Valley and includes part of the Maitland Trail. The trail is frequently used by cottagers and locals to get out and enjoy the natural scenery, says Murray-Dimic.

Trees growing on or near cottage properties provide a host of benefits. Trees reduce pollution and smog, says Murray-Dimic, and provide shade that helps cottage-owners save on their electricity bill. And if you’re a nature-lover, having trees near your cottage that provide food and shelter for native wildlife can make birdwatching easier by bringing the birds to you.

Murray-Dimic encourages cottagers to watch and share the League of Tree video, and to talk to their kids and friends about trees and biodiversity. The League of Trees website also includes a downloadable comic book, and other tips to fight climate change.

“Trees really are heroes,” Murray-Dimic adds, “so it was really important for NCC, along with LEAF, Bruce Trail Conservancy, and the Ontario Power Generation, to work together to find a digital and amusing way to share some of the ways that trees help biodiversity and make sure that another 500,000 trees get planted in Ontario to help protect our quality of life.”

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