Cory Eli demonstrates the proper technique in planting a tree. Image credit: Carmen Weld

Hundreds of trees to brighten roadside

Residents driving east on Highway 97 on their way to Kelowna will be greeted with a lot more greenery, thanks to a tree-planting event Tuesday.

More than 450 trees and shrubs were planted along Sneena Road at the sixth-annual tree-planting.

Dozens of volunteers of all ages joined in for the morning event, hosted by the Westbank First Nation and the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

“Last year we planted a bunch of trees and shrubs coming up bridge hill by our cemetery, this year we are planting along Sneena,” said WFN Chief Roxanne Lindley. “It is really awesome to see people bringing their children and coming out and celebrating us planting trees, berry bushes, shrubs – it is all really very beautiful.”

The event was one of six TD Tree Days events across Canada put on by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. The foundation set out to create “a legacy of green spaces within Indigenous communities in Canada.”

“We are beautiful because the land is beautiful, I think that is really fitting,” said Candice Loring, financial services representative at the Westbank branch of TD Canada Trust.

“To have the honour to be a part of this is incredibly humbling and I just want to thank all of you for allowing us to be here and be a part of this today.”

Organizers said a row of maples will be planted, along with shrubs including Saskatoon berry, blackberry, blueberry and raspberry.

“When we look at ourselves as Indigenous people, we are the stewards of the land and we have a huge responsibility towards our relationship with Mother Earth,” added Lindley.

“So, it is really nice for us to be able to gather and do this together. We are planting trees for the future, we are looking at the future and that is what this is all about. We won’t get berries today, but next year, next decade, the next two decades there will be berries here.

“I am proud of everybody who is here today.”

During the last five years, TD Tree Days has worked with more than 10 different Indigenous groups at 20 planting events across Canada. During this time, more than 3,500 trees and shrubs were added to various locales, enriching Indigenous communities with greener, more fruitful landscapes.

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Dozens of kids helped plant more than 1,500 trees on Tuesday. Image credit: Carmen Weld

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