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Greenway grows greener future

May 14, 2024 News Story
Greenway - Tree Planting

Greenway School students can see the forest through the trees. 

On May 8, students at the West End elementary school helped to plant approximately 50 trees, including crabapple, mountain ash, pin cherry, burr oak, and trembling aspen. The trees are the beginning of the Greenway Community Forest, a greener, cooler, more eco-friendly future for the school and surrounding community. 

“When I first started here, this was a grass desert,” said Greenway teacher Nic Skrabek, who is also on the school’s Education for Sustainable Development committee. 

“The only trees inside the fence were the ones that were probably planted when the school was built in 1909. They are elms and they’re all marked to be removed. In the last 15 years we’ve been able to plant about 50 trees. Some took, some didn’t. But, with all the help we’re getting, we’re planting another 50 trees just today alone.”

Green Action Centre, a local non-profit environmental organization, received funding for the project from Green Communities Canada, through its Living Cities Canada Fund. 

Trees Winnipeg, West End Resource Centre, Green Drop and Manitoba Eco-Network also participated in the planting project. 

“The biggest reason we’re doing this is climate change is real, we’re already feeling the effects, and trees help reduce those effects and help communities to be more resilient,” said Kristen Malec, compost program coordinator at Green Action Centre. 

“Many of the elms are coming down due to Dutch elm disease, so having new trees will eventually provide great amounts of shade for the students and also the community who uses the greenspace. One of Greenway’s goals is to increase the biodiversity on the property. We’re planting a wide-variety of tree species today, including fruit-producing trees that will support wildlife, as well as flowering trees that will support pollinators.”

The tree-planting day culminated with a barbecue, a chance for community members to get a first look at the Greenway Community Forest.

“The students are planting trees for themselves and also for the students of the future,” Skrabek said. “Greenway is a niche community. It’s multi-generational. We have parents and even grandparents who also came to school here. We want to have that moment where these kids can come back years later with their children and say, ‘I was here when this was planted.’”

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