‘Adopt-a-Tree Program’ establishes strong roots in Brighton

Preston Parkinson, Brighton’s director of public works and infrastructure, left, and Samantha Deck, planner, launched an “Adopt-a-Tree Program” in Brighton in 2021.

  • The Municipality of Brighton planted 60 trees in 2021 and are hoping to plant 90 this year.

The inaugural year of Brighton’s “Adopt-a-Tree Program” has been a “tree”-mendous success.

Preston Parkinson, director of public works and infrastructure for the Municipality of Brighton, and Samantha Deck, planner, said the community response was enthusiastic for the 2021 introduction of the initiative.

“I’d say it was overwhelming,” Parkinson said about the reception from Brightonians.

The municipality received about 115 to 120 applications from residents wanting trees. Brighton was able to plan 60 trees in 2021.

“There was a lot of support for the program,” Deck said.

“Everyone was really interested.”

The municipality launched the initiative to have a positive impact on the environment, to increase its tree canopy and develop a proper streetscape. “When you walk down a neighborhood that has large, mature trees, mentally it’s very good for you, and trees in downtown areas (also) provide a lot of benefits,” Deck said.

Parkinson said the idea for the program came to him during the fall of 2020 when he realized the municipality had removed 197 trees and didn’t plant any. “I’d like to get to a net zero at some point — where we at least plant one tree for every one we remove.”

Brighton council approved $25,000 within the public works tree maintenance budget for the 2021 initiative. It’s free for community members to adopt a tree.

For Adopt-A-Tree 2022, “we are trying to plant 90 trees with the same $25,000 budget,” Parkinson said, noting, “we will be trying to engage a volunteer group to help with plantings.”

The Adopt-a-Tree Program is intended to encourage land stewardship and improve survival rates for newly planted trees by utilizing a collaborative approach between the municipality and volunteer “tree care supporters” in the community.

Tree care supporters can be residents or community groups who are willing to grow and maintain their community’s urban forest. The program connects volunteers with newly-planted trees and requires the adopter to provide the necessary care and maintenance for the trees within their communities. Tree care supporters are responsible for tasks such as watering, mulching, and weeding of trees in their care until the trees are well established.

The municipality has recommended certain varieties of trees for smaller street lots, cul-de-sacs or where utility servicing limits available space. Brighton also has included a list of trees suitable for larger lots/areas.

Appropriate locations for trees are at Brighton’s discretion. Staff members look at each request and work with volunteers to determine the most suitable planting location and species.

While not everyone who wants a tree will be able to receive one in 2022, Deck encourages those who are interested to still apply so they’re on the list for future plantings.

The municipality has also applied for a grant from Tree Canada, which, if successful, may help to increase the number of trees that can be planted this year.

For more information and/or to inquire about the Adopt-a-Tree Program, visit www.brighton.ca/en/living-here/adopt-a-tree-program-.aspx?_mid_=32732.

In another effort to make Brighton greener in 2021, the municipality also tended to the Harbor Point Pond, a public stormwater facility, located in the Harbor Point subdivision. Staff planted about 230 shrubs, 250 perennial and 40 trees.

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