A very old sugar maple has been given a new lease on a life that could extend another 200 years thanks to the Meaford chapter of Tree Trust, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving Ontario’s legacy trees that have been described as the carbon-capture heroes in a battle against climate change.
A 128-year-old sugar maple in Meaford’s Lakeview Cemetery underwent extensive pruning by Tobias Effinger, owner of Arboreal Tree Care, and his crew on September 24, following the official launch of Tree Trust Meaford. Officials MP Alex Ruff, MPP Bill Walker, Deputy Mayor Shirley Keaveney, Tree Trust Founder and Manager Tony Ellis, and Rotary Club of Meaford President Joanne Clement delivered encouraging words to Meaford Tree Trust organizer Pete Russell and his volunteers in their effort to raise both awareness of and funding for the preservation of Meaford’s legacy trees.
The Lakeview Cemetery is a special place, according to Deputy Mayor Shirley Keaveney. “It is a place of reverence, of remembering, and of honouring those gone before us,” she said. “A big part of that is the stately trees that adorn the grounds. We appreciate that you are taking on the task of preserving these trees. I am delighted that we have a Tree Trust in Meaford and we are grateful to you. My parents, my brother, my nephews, and many other family members are interred here. My husband will be interred here in his final resting place.
“This cemetery is sacred to so many of our residents, whether they have family here or just enjoy walking the grounds.”
Tree Trust originated three years ago in the Central Wellington area in response to the destruction of four landmark sugar maples, according to founder and managing director, Toni Ellis. “People drove by and they were shocked and horrified. I discovered that were a whole lot of people who felt just I did. Why did those trees come down? There were lot of trees out there that deserved to be looked at and inspected and have it determined if there is something that can be done. Is there something else that can be done with these trees that have survived hurricanes and blizzards, trees that deserve respect and possibly protection and stewardship.
“So we started Tree Trust at that particular moment.
“These are trees that provide legacy seeds, and shade. They are habitat and they give people a great sense of space and carbon sequestering. In times when we are asking what we can do about climate change, well here is something we can do.”
The Rotary Club of Meaford donated $750 toward the cost of pruning the 128-year-old sugar maple, approximately half the cost of the operation. The club has also donated $750 toward the pruning of another sugar maple in the cemetery in 2022. President Joanne Clement described the club’s donation as “very fitting” now that the Rotary Club of Canada has adopted the environment as the seventh of a set of focuses that include peace building and conflict prevention; disease prevention and treatment; water, sanitation, and hygiene; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and community economic development.
“It is fitting that we are standing here and serving our community and the life of that tree,” she said. “This a good way for [Rotarians] to kick off our focus on the environment.”
The 128-year-old sugar maple is the second tree in the cemetery to be cared for by Tree Trust. The third tree is scheduled for the spring of 2022.
For information or to donate toward the cost of preserving a legacy tree, go to treetrust.ca