Coupons get trees in ground

Two dozen new trees will be (or have already been) planted thanks to a small but powerful initiative by the City of Duncan.

Two dozen new trees will be (or have already been) planted thanks to a small but powerful initiative by the City of Duncan.

In celebration of National Tree Day, the City’s environment committee handed out 25 coupons for $20 towards the purchase of a new tree at Dinter Nursery.

Not widely known, National Tree Day was Sept. 23.

Resident Cathie Camley used her coupon to plant a Japanese maple.

“When I saw the program and what it offered I was thrilled to take part in it,” Camley said. “We have rather enthusiastically over-planted every inch of our tiny front yard space and so [there’s] not much room for a tree. The ornamental Japanese maple tree we bought with the coupon is now planted in a sizable container on our front porch and will be my husband’s project to train it in a bonsai form…a hobby he’s always wanted to try,” she added.

The duo moved to Duncan from Port Moody five years ago but in their time together, they’ve always lived in townhouses or apartments and care of any gardens was done for them.

Until, that is, they moved to a tiny bungalow on Jubilee Street.

“We never really had the opportunity of experiencing the pleasure (and health benefits) of gardening,” Camley said. “The rewards have been great. We have met so many of our neighbours as they walk by and stop to chat and admire our gardening efforts or to borrow a book from our little free lending library attached to our fence.”

Long-time Duncan councillor Sharon Jackson sits on the environment committee and said she’s going to suggest that the coupons be handed out annually.

“I just think it’s a great idea and it gets people thinking,” she said. “There are huge benefits not just for humans but for wildlife as well.”

Jackson said studies show trees not only improve air quality but lower temperatures at well. “I know that for instance I’ve got three or four trees in my backyard and I know that my backyard is probably three or four degrees cooler than my front yard,” she said. “It makes a huge difference in the summer.”

Duncan’s urban tree strategy calls for 3,000 trees to be planted within city limits over the next 10 to 15 years.

“Obviously it’s not going to happen overnight. This is a beginning,” Jackson said. “The city doesn’t have to plant them all. People can go and buy their own trees.”