Good to Know Letters & Opinion

Forests are the Wisdom of the Planet

Written by Kay MacDuffee

A shaman was remembering her dream, and her telling was vivid and painfully evocative for me.  In it she watches a forest of mighty trees being ravaged by fire, and she weeps.  Then from the ashes on the forest floor where each tear has fallen, a sapling miraculously begins to sprout.

How would you interpret this?  Is it too simplistic to imagine that the message is: If we care and love her deeply enough, we can bring the Earth, her forests, oceans etc. back from the brink?

This is MY dream: that enough of us WILL care enough to ‘get involved’ in her rescue. And Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is always trying to make it easier for us.  Following is a super-easy avenue to plant a forest if you have as little as one acre of land available for planting.

Forests Ontario recently received renewed short-term funding to continue building tree cover and forest connectivity in Ontario through its 50 Million Tree Program (50 MTP).  This plan greatly reduces the cost of large-scale tree planting for landowners, “offering them the opportunity to leave their mark on the Credit River Watershed  — and the world  — by planting a living legacy on their properties,” advises CVC’s Calantha Elsby.

This is time-sensitive funding, she emphasizes, to encourage landowners to book their spring planting with CVC by January 15, 2020.  As a delivery agent of the 50 MTP, CVC can provide full-service tree planting at a subsidized rate of up to 75% on properties within the watershed.  Eligibility requires that landowners commit to planting one acre (750 trees) or more.  Tax incentives may also be available for projects exceeding 10 acres through Ontario’s Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program.

(Personal note:  I took advantage of the latter several years ago using Toronto Region Conservation Area (TRCA) and my property tax was halved!)

90% of land in the CVC watershed is under private ownership so imagine the opportunity and the potential to make positive change on the planet by simply planting trees on our property.

As we learn more about trees and forests I find my own strong emotional connection to them verified. We have just started to understand what a tree is all about.  Forests are the wisdom of the planet.  Their secret underground connective community is even more amazing and surprising than the overhead canopy.

Why do we feel better when we are around trees?  Because we are immersing in a medicinal aerosol that the tree has emitted.

A tree is not just a tree.  The most complex chemistry on the planet is found in the furnace of a tree – directly benefiting our immune systems – telling us to relax as this immune system is being boosted.

And it is the cheapest and best defense against Climate Change.

Diane Beresford-Kroeger is a botanist, medical biochemist and author, and a woman with whom I feel a common bond.  She likes to say, “The forest in me knows.”

Her ‘bioplan’?  If every person plants one tree, each year for six years – one native species tree into native spaces – we can reverse Climate Change.

Grow your own forest! She boldly advises.  And for every breath you take, thank a tree.

For more information re CVC’s subsidized tree planting program visit or contact Alastair Biscaia at 647-449-2743 no later than January 15th 2020.  Or to get inspired and see what others are doing on their property to build resilience, visit:

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About the author

Kay MacDuffee

Kathryn (Kay) MacDuffee thinks of herself as a learner/teacher/seeker after truth.  She’s lived in Caledon before it was Caledon. A retired educator and journalist, her brimming energy keeps her active still in both. Her secret? An attitude of gratitude.

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  • Kay, Lovely piece (as always). This one made me pause. At first I thought: I only have 1/4 acre so I don’t qualify. Then I read Diane Beresford-Kroeger’s “biplan” and learned that all I need do is plant one tree a year. One tree. I can do that, I thought. Surely I can talk to a friend who has land and they’ll allow me to plant one tree a year. So that’s what I plan to do. In fact, I meet with a group for coffee every Wednesday morning. I’m going to suggest that each spring we all get together on Wednesday morning and each plant our tree together. Love it. Nicola