This year, our Green Team held a fundraiser to plant trees on Guelph Lake Island.
The emerald ash borer seems like an innocent enough creature. Part of its name is even pretty. But it bores into trees and for us at Hillside that has meant the demise of so many beautiful large ash trees on the Island whose canopies once provided much-loved shade, whose branches provided the aerial anchors for our swinging puppets and our crocheted creations, and whose bark, leaves, and hollows provide food and havens for creatures. The Sun Stage lost three of its biggest trees, while Island Stage and other once-green places lost many more. When the sun beats down, we feel their loss the most.
So, with the guidance of Nathan Munn of Forestry operations with the Grand River Conservation Authority, we raised funds to plant sugar maples, red maple, freeman maples, sycamores, oaks (burr and red), and Kentucky coffee trees—all are native to Ontario. Our goal was to raise $9,000 to bring back the beauty that gives us oxygen, stores carbon, stabilises the soil, and gives life to the Island’s creatures.
We are immensely grateful to receive funding from the Dr. Eric (Ric) Soulis Memorial Trees for Schoolyards Endowment Fund, held at Waterloo Region Community Foundation (WRCF) to support this initiative. With the support of WRCF, we hope to plant more trees on Guelph Lake Island and bring back habitats and food for animals and shade for all of us during the summer festival.