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Winnipeg elementary school students plant trees to create school forest

Tree planting event at Greenway School (CTV News/Joseph Bernacki) Tree planting event at Greenway School (CTV News/Joseph Bernacki)

A Winnipeg elementary school will be looking a lot greener in the future.

Greenway School hosted a special tree-planting event on Tuesday.

Throughout the school day, students worked hard planting trees to establish the Greenway School Community Forest.

“As a team, we've been working together on trying to return nature to our community here. We have this lovely space. Unfortunately, it was just nothing but grass. So over the years, we've been really focusing on that,” said Greenway School teacher Nic Skrabek.

The ‘greening’ initiative was put on by Green Action Centre, who worked with various local organizations, including Green Communities, Manitoba Eco-Network, West End Resource Centre, Trees Winnipeg, and Greendrop.

The school has been planting trees steadily for around 20 years on the premises, but organizers say the latest event has been the most impactful.

“Over time, we've been trying to plant trees, and we were lucky enough to put in about 50 in the last 20 years. Today, we get to put in 49 in one day. So really, really, a change of the time,” said Skrabek.

When the idea of replacing the trees began, the only trees standing were elms from around the time the school was established in 1909. Unfortunately, the majority of the elms on the property have since had to be removed, or are marked for removal, due to Dutch Elm Disease.

“So when they're going, when they're gone, we'll have no shade, we would have nothing but just grass here. And that seems not necessary, and unfair,” said Skrabek.

Due to its susceptibility to disease, experts chose not to plant any more elms, to give the forest the best chance for survival.

“There’s a variety of trees that will provide shade at different heights, throughout different generations, some that will provide shade in the next 10 to 20 years, some that will finally reach their peak in the next 40 to 60, 80

years. So a wide variety…we are giving a chance for nature to come back, and the animals to come back - that something's gonna be here for a long time…” Skrabek said.

Organizers hope that the students participating in the event will be able to continue enjoying the fruits of their labour in the future.

“We're also hoping that the kids that today plant the trees have that opportunity if they're still in the community, or returning to the community, they can come back and see their trees and show their kids and pass along those stories.” Top Stories

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