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Trick or Trees planting event a Halloween scream

HALLOWEEN GOES GREEN: Volunteer students and staff pictured in costume are (from left): Johnny Westgate, Tim Lang, Paul Abell, Natalie Duncan and Caitlynn Watson. (Photo by Stephanie Kang.)

by Stephanie Kang

Volunteers on campus had a hoot and a howl today as the clock struck noon. About 15 people turned out for Trick or Trees, a Halloween planting event held at the U of T Scarborough campus.

Students essentially “raised the dead” by bringing life back to the slope near the H-wing patio, which before today looked more like a barren graveyard. The U of T planting team, many of whom dressed up in costume, included students and staff who came out for the event. This planting was one of several that were organized this year in partnership with Evergreen, a charity that builds the relationship between nature, culture and community in urban spaces – in schools, communities and homes.

The volunteers performed their Halloween magic in a natural way, planting approximately 125 trees including: White Spruce, American Basswood, Staghorn Sumac and Eastern Red Cedar to create a beautiful space.

The slope was specifically chosen as a priority area for restoration because it is prone to erosion as well as liability issues, as the slope is a hazard to students, according to organizers.

“The regeneration of the slope also contributes to the overall plan to help ensure the long-term environmental health of the Highland Creek valley at U of T Scarborough,” says Paul Abell, Evergreen’s program coordinator.

Trick or Trees was the final outdoor event for the year, according to Tim Lang, sustainability coordinator. However, plans are under way to organize some workshops this winter. Organizers say they hope to arrange an event that will focus on green living and how people can reduce their impact on the world, along with a workshop on invasive plant species.

Although Evergreen has been working with public schools for years, the University of Toronto Scarborough is one of the first institutions of higher education to create a partnership and steering committee with Evergreen. The planting and educational events demonstrate the numerous mutual benefits of the partnership, Abell says.

Second-year studio major Natalie Duncan puts her motivation for helping out at Trick or Trees very simply: “I thought it would be fun!”

Stephanie Kang is a third-year humanities student. She is currently working as a co-op student in Marketing & Communications.

© University of Toronto Scarborough