Forests Ontario’s seasonal magazine OUR FOREST featured an article about Maple Leaves Forever and founder Ken Jewett in the Fall issue. Below is an excerpt. The full article can be read for free on the Forests Ontario website: forestsontario.ca/en/article/our-forest-magazine-volume-62-number-4 (page 12)
The Long Road: Maple Leaves Forever continues Ontario’s rich history of planting trees along its thoroughfares
BY PETER KUITENBROUWER
Roadside trees do so much: they beautify the countryside, absorb carbon, prevent erosion, block wind and drifting snow, help pollinators, pump out oxygen and purify groundwater. But not everyone protects these trees. For more than 150 years, environmentally minded locals have worried about how to preserve trees and grow new trees along roadways across rural Ontario.
Ontario’s longstanding encouragement of tree planting along roadways continues today through the efforts of Maple Leaves Forever (MLF), a non-profit that has helped landowners plant thousands of native Sugar Maples, Red Maples and Silver Maples across the province. To date, MLF has subsidized the planting of more than 130,000 native maple trees, the equivalent of over 1,200 km of maple-lined Ontario roadside.
Today, there is no provincial program to help property owners who wish to plant roadside trees. And Schwan notes that, “sadly, many roadside trees have been lost to reasons other than age. Modernization of roads has taken its toll. Roads have been widened… ditching built, and hydro infrastructure has deformed the shape of trees.”
Still, there is hope for our roadside trees. In 2000, Ken Jewett, who had earned his money in the prepared foods industry, founded Maple Leaves Forever to encourage landowners to plant maples along their fencelines and along roads, as their ancestors had done. Landowners who commit to plant 10 to 50 trees with a minimum height of 175 cm, grown at one of 18 recognized nurseries, can receive a 25 per cent subsidy. A few municipalities aggregate Maple Leaves Forever funding with other programs to get more trees along roads.
Along with his deep commitment to the cause of native maple trees, Ken Jewett has for many years offered generous support to Forests Ontario’s tree planting and education initiatives. Forests Ontario is grateful to Jewett for his unwavering support.
Read full article: forestsontario.ca/en/article/our-forest-magazine-volume-62-number-4 (page 12)