Over Half-a-Million Trees Planted in United Counties of Prescott and Russell

Russell, ON (December 3, 2019) – A city councillor in Russell, who has planted thousands of trees on his own land under the 50 Million Tree Program (50 MTP), welcomed the news that Forests Ontario will continue the program with federal support.

“We have a retired landfill of a number of hectares that we want to restore, and we are thrilled that we can plant trees under Forests Ontario’s 50 MTP,” said André Brisson, City Councillor for Embrum with the Township of Russell. Brisson previously planted 2,000 trees under the program, including Black Walnut and Sugar Maple trees, and said he had an 85 per cent success rate.

Forests Ontario announced the relaunch of its 50 MTP today. The 50 MTP is a large-scale tree planting program for land and property owners with the goal of increasing forest cover in Ontario.

“The 50 MTP is better and more accessible than ever,” said Rob Keen, CEO of non-profit charity, Forests Ontario. “The new, expanded criteria opens the program to more land and property owners, meaning more trees in the ground. It’s a win-win for landowners, who save on tree planting costs, and for the environment.”

Under the new criteria, property owners with room to plant a minimum of 500 trees can apply for funding. The revised program creates more opportunity for urban and suburban tree planting.

Beginning in 2008, Forests Ontario has facilitated the planting of more than 29 million trees through the 50 MTP. This total includes 500,000 trees planted in the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. Across the province, Forests Ontario has worked with more than 80 dedicated partners, such as conservation authorities, stewardship groups and First Nations. More than 5,000 landowners have planted trees, yielding over 16,000 hectares of new forest and sequestering 22,000 tonnes of carbon per year. The 50 MTP also supports approximately 300 full-time, seasonal forest jobs.

The Government of Ontario cut funding for the 50 MTP in April of 2019. In response, public support for tree planting came quickly: the media wrote hundreds of articles about the 50 MTP’s cancellation and 100,000 people signed a petition in support of Forests Ontario’s tree planting efforts. In June, the Government of Canada committed up to $15M over four years to keep the program running. Funding also comes from corporate sponsors and donors.

Those wishing to apply for the program can visit www.forestsontario.ca/50MTP.

About Forests Ontario

Forests Ontario is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to re-greening the province through the support of forest restoration, stewardship, education and awareness. We promote Canada’s greatest natural resource – our forests – because healthy forests sustain healthy communities and healthy economies. Forests Ontario is the voice of our forests. Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us @Forests_Ontario to find out more.