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Endangered tree given new life

On June 7, Oshawa celebrated the arrival of a new productive member of society.

The Oshawa Environmental Advisory Committee (OEAC) hosted the unveiling of a newly planted tree, the endangered butternut species.

A plaque dedicated to the tree was planted beside the leafy green addition. It included a line from a Greek proverb, “A society grows great when people plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

The tree was planted in Brick by Brick Park located near Nassau and John Streets. “This location was chosen because it needs to have more diverse species planted,” said Lindsay Code, a member of OEAC. This committee is responsible for advising, assisting and educating council and city staff along with the community with respect to the protection, enhancement, restoration, management and appreciation of natural and built environments. The committee also said that at least one new tree will be planted in Oshawa each year from now on.

The butternut tree benefits the biodiversity of Southern Ontario forests by providing food for animals, bugs and insects and also attracting birds. This type of tree is endangered in Canada and protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. The key reason for this extinction is that the majority of Ontario’s butternut trees have been infected with a fungal disease, butternut canker. Researchers are working to save the species, after continual testing they are reintroducing the trees across Toronto in hopes that they are now disease-tolerant.

OEAC members and Mayor John Henry pose in front of the newly dedicated butternut tree.

The early evening ceremony was short, but hopefully the message and positive impact of this tree will last forever.

Story and images by Hillary Di Menna

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