Highway of Heroes & Forests Ontario expand green monument along the 401
More than 98,000 new trees have been planted across Northumberland County this spring in honour of Canadian veterans, thanks to the combined efforts of the Highway of Heroes (HOH) Tree Campaign and Forests Ontario. These newly planted seedlings are adding to an existing green monument along Canada’s busiest highway.
The HOH Tree Campaign pays tribute to veterans by planting a tree for each of the two million Canadians that have served in the Canadian Armed Forces. The HOH/Forests Ontario partnership reduces tree planting costs for eligible landowners living near Highway 401, from Windsor to Cornwall, to meet this goal. 125,000 trees have been rooted in Northumberland County as part of this living tribute since the campaign’s outset.
“Our partnership with Forests Ontario and the 50 Million Tree Program has allowed us to take immense strides toward reaching our goal of supporting the planting of two million trees in total,” said Mike Hurley, Executive Director the HOH Tree Campaign. “In just two years, we have gone from having less than 10% of our goal planted to just over 75%. But perhaps what is most meaningful is that many Canadians can now take great pride in knowing that they have a small piece of this sprawling living tribute in their own backyards.”
Across Ontario, more than 880,000 seedlings were planted on upwards of 300 properties through the campaign this spring, creating over 440 hectares of new forest. Having rooted nearly 1.6 million trees in total, the HOH Campaign is poised to be completed by the end of 2022.
“It’s very exciting to see this partnership so close to its goal,” said Rob Keen, Registered Professional Forester and CEO of Forests Ontario. “The HOH campaign is unique, as it enables Ontarians to protect their environment and improve their communities while paying tribute to our Canadian Heroes. We’re honoured to be a part of this noble mission.”
Forests Ontario, a non-profit charity, has facilitated the planting of more than 37 million trees across Canada since 2004.
As 2022 will be the last year of the HOH Campaign and final opportunity for landowners to participate, Hurley and Keen urge those who are interested in contributing to the living tribute next spring to reach out to either HOH or Forests Ontario now.
Along with enhancing the world’s largest living tribute, the new forests planted along Highway 401 will provide wind and snow barriers, stabilize soil, absorb groundwater runoff, sequester carbon, and provide new habitats for wildlife. Planting forests to sequester carbon is one of the most effective methods to cool landscapes and mitigate the effects of climate change.