The Sarnia Climate Action Group and the city join forces to bring back biodiversity

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Mike Kent, an arborist from the town of Sarnia, and Mike Smalls, a gardener with a local group fighting climate change, exchanged ideas about a tree planting project in Wiltshire Park.

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“I showed him the concept of biodiversity islands and one thing leads to another and now he’s leading the team,” said Kent. “It’s good.”

Smalls, a Climate Action Sarnia-Lambton member who has a background in landscape design and gardening, said her goal is to bring back biodiversity.

“There’s not enough of that,” he said as a group of volunteers finished planting a mini-forest in the northern park on Saturday.

Volunteer James Oatway cuts branches during a tree planting event in Wiltshire Park on Saturday. Terry Bridge/Sarnia Observer/Postmedia Network Photo by Terry Bridge /Terry Bridge/The Observer

The project, done in partnership with the city, included a small, crowded forest of native plants.

“They plant at high density so all the elements are closer together in less time,” Smalls said.

He said if you plant them close together it becomes a competition.

“Some trees grow faster than others. Some will die off in a few years, but that’s how a forest works,” he said.

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The trees were oak, maple and tulip while they also planted elder and viburnum.

“Everything’s mulched and we’re just going to monitor it over the next few years and see how it goes,” Smalls said.

Smalls estimated about 35 people came out to help on Saturday, including several students from Great Lakes Secondary School.

“That was really cool,” he said.

“The people who planted these will be able to see this growing before their eyes with the younger kids,” Kent said.

Mike Kent, an arborist from the town of Sarnia, plants a tree during an event at Wiltshire Park on Saturday.  Terry Bridge/Sarnia Observer/Postmedia Network
Mike Kent, an arborist from the town of Sarnia, plants a tree during an event at Wiltshire Park on Saturday. Terry Bridge/Sarnia Observer/Postmedia Network Photo by Terry Bridge /Terry Bridge/The Observer

This was the second of a two-part tree planting project at the park, with the first taking place in May. The addition of another phase is subject to city funding and approval.

“It would be really cool to take a different area around here somewhere and do a different one and have several throughout,” Smalls said.

Climate Action Sarnia-Lambton, a group of about 15 members but with a mailing list of more than 100 volunteers, has been tracking local issues since the city declared a climate emergency in 2019. Kent credited the group for what they did. have been able to realize so far.

“We cannot do something like this without Climate Action Sarnia (Lambton) and volunteers,” he said.

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@ObserverTerry

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