Nichole Lavoir and Jocelyn Butler-Crane

Nichole Lavoir and Jocelyn Butler-Crane

Trees take root at Fintry park

Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Venturers have planted a greener future.

Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Venturers have planted a greener future.

The groups helped make up 166 sets of hands which recently planted 750 trees at Fintry Provincial Park through the 2014 Scoutrees program.

Since 1972, the national Scoutrees program has planted more than eight million trees throughout Canada, using the experience to educate the young recruits on the important role trees play in the lives of both humans and wildlife, as well as in conservation and climate change.

This year’s excursion saw Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Venturers, under the supervision of scouter Glen Dick, planting ponderosa pine and Douglas fir seedlings at Fintry.

“The program also provides an opportunity for parents and their children to work together and give back to the environment,” said Dick.

In the North Okanagan, Scoutrees has partnered with B.C. Parks, PRT Reforestation and Tolko Industries.

“This year’s plant took place at Fintry Provincial Park where parks staff asked for more shade trees to be planted at campsites that were fully exposed to the hot sun,” said Dick.

Over the day, a group of 166 people (126 youth and young adults and 40 adults/parents) planted 750 trees in an environment, that during the summer time, makes seedling survival challenging. Because of the extreme environmental conditions, which includes a lot of competing grasses, the groups were taught to plant their trees in close clusters of three to four around old stumps where possible.

“This cluster planting provides as much help as possible to these young seedlings as they struggle to grow and survive,” said Dick, as planting in clusters allows the trees to grow together and build up shade to help reduce the competition from grasses which tend to absorb much of the limited moisture that these sites get.

“The planting was not an easy slog for these enthusiasts, because of the amount of grass that was growing on this site.”

Each hole had to have a top layer of grass roots removed and the soil saved so the seedlings could be planted in a relatively open environment with sufficient soil to allow the tree roots plenty of room to expand. The planters also had to carry water from the various taps located around the campsites.

The participants also had the opportunity to meet two local registered professional foresters, Bob Johnson and Kathie Swift.

They provided their planting expertise to the group, answered any questions the youth or their parents had and helped out when an extra pair of hands was needed.