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Jane Goodall to help celebrate Sudbury’s 10-millionth tree

Public invited to attend a celebration at Bell Park at which the 10-millionth tree will be planted and world-renowned scientist Jane Goodall will be in attendance

In what Mayor Brian Bigger considers a “historic moment” for Greater Sudbury, the community has been invited to celebrate the planting of the 10-millionth tree at Bell Park on Thursday.

World-renowned scientist Jane Goodall will be joining the 3 p.m. celebration at the William Bell Gazebo to film a segment for the upcoming IMAX film, Reasons for Hope.

The city’s regreening effort under which these 10 million trees have been planted since 1978 certainly qualifies as a reason for hope, Bigger told Sudbury.com.

“My god, you look at the pictures of the black rock with dead tree stumps and a pretty desolate environment,” Bigger said of the city prior to its regreening, adding that it would have been difficult at the time to imagine how greatly things would improve in only one generation.

“It’s not hopeless, things can be repaired, turned around in the environment, and look at what Sudbury has done.”

The city’s regreening effort has been ongoing since 1978 and has remained the product of various community and industry partners.

The Greater Sudbury Community Energy and Emissions Plan city council adopted in 2019 after declaring a climate emergency noted the importance of continuing the regreening effort as a means of carbon sequestration.

To that time, approximately 9.8 million trees had been planted on 24,811 hectares of barren land at an average density of 395 tree seedlings per hectare. The plan estimated that by replanting, the sequestration rate increases by an average of 1.1 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year.

“It is important to note that efforts must be maintained to refresh the existing tree stock to keep its carbon sequestration rate consistent,” according to the plan.

Approximately 252,500 trees were slated to be planted between 2021 and 2025, according to the city’s latest five-year plan, which includes a breakdown of the 32 species of trees included. The leading trees are the green alder and red oak, which will both see 50,000 planted.

“I believe it’s easy to commit to another 40 years of regreening and focus on our environment,” Bigger told Sudbury.com. “Certainly, we can plant another 10 million trees.”

Goodall, 88, has recently returned to live events, and told The Canadian Press last month that she has done so to share a message of hope, despite ongoing threats related to climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

"If we don't have hope, then we become apathetic and do nothing. So, if we all become apathetic and do nothing, we're doomed," she said. 

"We are at a critical juncture and it's desperately important that people get together and actually take action."

In February, Goodall published a list of five reasons for hope, which is in keeping with the message guiding her public appearances and the movie she’s filming in Sudbury this week. These five reasons included:

  • The amazing human brain, which has created modern technology
  • The resiliency of nature, if given a chance
  • The tremendous energy, enthusiasm and commitment of young people around the world
  • The indomitable nature of the human spirit
  • The power of social media

Goodall has a history of visiting Greater Sudbury, and last appeared virtually, when in October 2021 she joined in a celebration of the opening of Laurentian University’s UN Garden and Restoration Trail.

“I visited Sudbury in the past, and I’ve been so very impressed by the work you and your community have done to restore one of the most barren landscapes in Sudbury,” Goodall said in a video, touching on a point that will prove the main focus of Thursday’s event. 

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.