Why Have a Heritage Tree Hunt?

What has inspired the Dundas Valley Tree Keepers (DVTK) to have a Heritage Tree Hunt you may ask? The DVTK volunteer group supports conservation of the treed environment in and around the Dundas Valley and provides opportunities for the public to learn about and appreciate trees and forests.   

The Dundas Valley is an area of incredible biodiversity. It is an area blessed with urban, rural and natural forested areas. This combined with being situated in southern Ontario and at the head of Lake Ontario; it is also steeped in Canadian culture and history.  

Trees are a silent witness to all that has occurred in their lifetime. They are an essential component of a healthy, sustaining environment; forests are often referred to as the lungs of the Earth. Through seed dispersal and planting, we may find certain trees in the most unexpected places.

Consider seven generations in the future. Aboriginal elders teach us that whatever major decisions we make, we must do so keeping in mind the well being of our offspring seven generations hence. The DVTK want to help to ensure that our forests are protected now so that future generations can enjoy what will become their heritage trees. That includes engaging the community in getting into and around our own backyards to take a look and see what treasures are under our very noses! 

The Heritage Tree Hunt encourages the local community to become more aware and to appreciate our community trees by identifying trees they deem to be worthy of recognition according to the following definition, which the DVTK has adopted: "a heritage tree is an outstanding specimen because of its size, form, shape, age, colour, rarity, genetic constitution or other distinctive community landmark; a specimen associated with an historic person, place, event or period; representative of a crop grown by ancestors and their successors that is at risk of disappearing from cultivation; a specimen recognized by members of a community as deserving heritage recognition." (Courtesy of Paul Aird, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto).

The DVTK hope to collect and propagate seed from some of the heritage trees identified by the hunt, and in the case of trees on public property, to monitor their health. We also hope to find trees to add to the Honour Roll of Ontario Trees created by the Ontario Forestry Association in 1967 to mark Canada’s 100th anniversary. The goal of the Honour Roll is to increase public awareness and appreciation of trees and forests. 

The DVTK looks forward to seeing what treasured trees are identified in the Heritage Tree Hunt and to honouring them and nominators in a community celebration!