By Val Masters, Environmental Communications and Social Media Manager, Seeds to Saplings
Did you know that anyone can boost biodiversity? It’s easier than you think to get more insects, mammals, and birds in your backyard. How? Just plant a native tree. Seeds to Saplings is an organization whose mission is to help students of all ages grow a native tree, from a tiny acorn all the way to a towering oak. We focus on getting our free online instructions out to classrooms of all levels, so that kids can grow up with their very own oak.
Why oak? Biodiversity thrives on native plants, and oaks are especially wonderful for biodiversity. They support everything from unicorn caterpillars to red-tailed hawks. By growing an oak, you can provide a strong backbone for your local food web.
While a unicorn caterpillar loves munching on oak leaves, it doesn’t like all trees. Native insects find invasive plants unappetizing. So even though an invasive tree like a Norway maple might look nice and green, it really isn’t doing anything for the ecosystem. Invasive plants are more than unhelpful though: they actually hurt ecosystems by taking up room and nutrients that native plants need. So it’s important to support removal of invasive species. Seeds to Saplings’ sister organization, Toronto Nature Stewards, does just that. By removing invasive plants like garlic mustard and dog-strangling vine, there is room for native plants like oak to flourish. And when native plants flourish, so do native animals! If you are interested in helping support biodiversity, volunteering as a nature steward and growing native trees are great ways to make an impact locally.
If you know a classroom, club, or other group that wants to become an active part of their local ecosystem, send them to seedstosaplings.ca.
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