Enbridge contributes to Forests Ontario to assist in planting 6,250 tree seedlings
By Mike Jiggens
Earth Day 2021 has served as the launchpad for a contribution of $50,000 to Forests Ontario from Enbridge Gas’ employee-led Local Environmental Action Fellowship (Enbridge LEAF) program initiative as well as from the company’s Corporate Citizenship program.
The LEAF program’s contribution will assist with the planting of 6,250 tree seedlings in four geographic areas where Enbridge has expanded its service: Fenelon Falls, Scugog Island, Saugeen First Nations, and North Bay – Northshore/Peninsula Road area.
The number of trees to be planted represents the estimated number of new customers in these areas who are projected to switch to natural gas in 2021. The tree plantings are expected to reduce the utility’s carbon footprint by almost 300,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) and support environmental stewardship, conservation, and habitat remediation in local communities.
The Enbridge LEAF program is in keeping with the federal government’s plan to plant two billion trees as one way of meeting its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“Enbridge Gas is committed to protecting our environment, making the transition to a low carbon energy future and targeting net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in our own operations,” Cynthia Hansen, Enbridge EVP and president of gas distribution and storage, said. “The Enbridge LEAF program is one example of how we’re taking measures towards creating a more sustainable future by investing and partnering locally.”
Forests Ontario, a non-profit organization focused on tree planting, ecological restoration, and forest education, works with local seed collectors, nurseries, planting partners, landowners, municipalities, and Indigenous communities to ensure that the right tree is planted in the right place. The appropriate tree species earmarked for planting is based upon site conditions and objectives.
“Our forests provide so many benefits, and their health is deeply interconnected with our own,” Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario, said. “The trees planted, communities connected, and students engaged through our dedicated programming will enhance and diversify the landscape; bring awareness to the next generation of forest stewards; and provide local economic opportunities. With support from Enbridge Gas, we will continue to improve the health and resilience of our country’s urban and rural forests.”
In addition to its LEAF program contribution, Enbridge’s Corporate Citizenship Program will sponsor the Forests Ontario’s Ontario Envirothon program and Reconciliation Community Tree Plant (RCTP) events. Envirothon is an environmentally themed competition that immerses students in hands-on learning and discovery, enabling students to make informed, responsible decisions that benefit the earth and society. Natural Solutions to Climate Change is this year’s theme, in which students can explore how natural systems may be used to address climate change, including renewable energy. The RCTP allows for Indigenous communities and organizations to tell their stories, while highlighting the importance of reconciliation and its intersection with ecological restoration.