Earth Day Community Tree Planting Celebration 2019

Gina Pannunzio

Written for The Egret – Volume 34 – Issue 4 – December 2018

An active community involved in restoring the Detroit River watershed is critical to meeting conservation goals. Both Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) and the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup (DRCC) support community cleanups and tree planting activities across the watershed with many different partners. Not only do these activities improve habitat quality for plants and animals, they also enhance the quality of life for local residents. Planting native trees and wildflowers restores lost habitat and increases biodiversity, while fostering environmental stewardship in the community!

Through an ongoing annual partnership in celebration of Earth Month, the DRCC, the City of Windsor, the Little River Enhancement Group (Lil’ Reg) and ERCA invite residents, organizations and businesses to help plant a naturalization site belonging to the City of Windsor, which is in the Little River watershed. In 2018, 2,200 large potted trees and seedlings were planted in two hours by over 1,200 community members!

The 2019 Earth Day celebration will take place on Sunday April 28 2019 from 10am to noon. The location is recognized as the green space, south of Wyandotte Street east between Florence Avenue and Martinique Street in Windsor. This location includes a large storm water pond and naturalized areas along the Little River corridor and the Ganatchio Trail, which is a popular recreation site for cyclists, walkers, runners etc. It should be noted that Earth Day 2019 would be the 100th planting Lil’Reg, the City of Windsor, the DRCC and ERCA have participated in!

As part of the Earth Day celebration, Green Teams representing local organizations, groups, businesses, schools and teams of citizens register in advance to participate in the community planting. In 2017, there were 41 Green Teams registered. Some of the teams include Eco Teams from high schools and grade schools across Windsor-Essex, large families, Caesars Windsor, IKEA Windsor, Windsor Family Credit Union, Islamic Circle of North America, Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Sweet Revenge Bakeshop and more. Green Teams receive a plaque for participating and get their group photo taken at the opening ceremonies prior to the planting portion of the celebration.

As well, students from K to 12 will be invited to submit entries to ERCA throughout the month of April including photography, poems, essays and posters. The student winners attend the opening ceremonies where they receive recognition receive a prize. ERCA decides the theme for the Earth Day contest based on the global theme for the day. In 2018, the art contest focused on plastic consumption reduction. The 2019 theme for Earth Day is ‘Protect Our Species.’

The Earth Day celebration also includes fun activities for kids such as face painting and nature themed crafts for families to participate in. ERCA will also have some educational resources available for anyone interested in learning about the programs available and upcoming spring events.

The How To Crew is a team of expert planters that assists ERCA staff in preparing for the planting portion of the event. As there will be many trees planted, the crew will be on hand to provide tree-planting demonstrations, to answer any questions related to tree planting, and to help with mulch and equipment distribution. The How To Crew help improve the overall quality control of how the trees are planted which improves future survival assessments. An estimated thirty How To Crew volunteers will be at the event.

Following Earth Day, citizen scientists are welcome to sign up for a tree-monitoring workshop in early June to measure the survival of Earth Day trees planted. Citizen scientists are individuals who volunteer their time, effort and resources to work with professional scientists, resource managers, environmental managers or alone on scientific research. These individuals do not necessarily have a formal science background, but are trained on the data collection methodology and understand their role in the bigger picture.

In 2018, citizen scientists worked with the DRCC, ACER (Association for Canadian Educational Resources) and ERCA to take measurements of a sample of 100 large potted Earth Day trees and conduct an overall health assessment. The measurements included root collar, height, diameter at breast height and crown width. This information helped inform ERCA staff and the City of Windsor Forester evaluate the survival of community planted trees, which informs future planting plans and decisions made about community supported naturalization projects in Windsor-Essex County.

Join the How To Crew!

There will be a How To Crew Tree Planting Workshop hosted on Thursday January 31 2019 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in Committee Room C at the Essex Civic Centre. Check out the events list for more details.

Earth Day Celebration at Malden Park

Each year, the City of Windsor hosts the Earth Day celebration at Malden Park. The details and date for this event will be available in the new year. The Essex County Field Naturalists will also have a Bake Sale at the celebration.  Please consider baking and/or volunteering for this event. For information or questions contact Cathy Lapain at

Click here to return to the December 2018 Egret newsletter.