Over the past year, there has been a wonderful and ever-growing initiative in Grey-Bruce counties called The Extraordinary Tree Project which seeks to celebrate the significance and influence of the tree in our lives. Such a thing seems particularly appropriate in Grey-Bruce, seeing as it contains some of the highest forest cover density in southern Ontario.
The ever-morphing Extraordinary Tree Project keeps branching out (sorry, couldn’t resist) in new directions. A major addition is the tree-themed expert speaker series taking place at Grey Roots museum kicking off next week on National Tree Day, Sep 21st. At the root of (I’m not trying to be silly, honest) Extraordinary Tree Project was the Nominate-a-Tree challenge.
Nominate-a-Tree asked Grey-Bruce residents to send in stories and pictures of their extraordinary tree, whether on their own property or public lands, and describe how that tree is significant and/or influenced their life. I had a great candidate “right in my own back yard” as they say, the grand old maple I named Spirit Tree, a tree which was in large part responsible for poking me out of a conventional home (and conventional life!) in the GTA suburbs in favour of purchasing this woodland property 7 years ago. Over 50 nominations were received, from which one tree was chosen in each of 6 categories. And guess what? The Spirit Tree here was one of them 🙂 Each edition of the bi-monthly ETP newsletter has been featuring one of winners and the August edition of The Tree Times contains a very familiar looking tree!
The best part is that I understand plans are afoot to publish in book form a compendium of all the entrants, their stories and pictures! So how did Spirit Tree influence me to make this big life change? Some know the full story, but if you don’t you will have to wait for the book to read that and no doubt many other inspiring tree stories. But here’s a hint: it had a lot to do with a painting by Pembroke-based artist Kathleen Winkler which I purchased the year prior to becoming proud owner and honoured guardian of these lands.