Volunteers green up along Highway 97

With the help of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, volunteers planted shrubs and trees on WFN land on the highway Wednesday.

Kristen Bonin

Dozens of volunteers from the Westbank First Nation and the new Toronto Dominion bank branch in Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre on WFN land got down and dirty planting trees and bushes along Highway 97 nearby on Wednesday.

The beautification project, which will see 145 native trees and bushes planted, with a variety of bloom times and leaf colours, is part of the TD Friends of the Environment  Foundation’s annual TD Tree Day.

Kristen Bonin, manager of the new TD branch, said a group of her employees came out to help put in the greenery, alongside their customers and band members.

Irrigation was put in underground by the WFN prior to the planting and the weeds that had been a feature along that section of highway, between the overpass and the underpass across from the new shopping centre, were cleared out by WFN staff too, she said.

Barry Teichroeb, landscape and parks supervisor for the WFN, said he ordered saskatoon, elder, mock orange and dogwood bushes as well as a few maple and mayday trees.

However, there were concerns that trees would get in the way of highway signage, so there were limited spots they could be planted.

Without the contribution from the TD FEF group, he said there likely would just have been some wild grasses planted along the highway.

Instead, there will be fruit and seeds for local birds, as well as a colourful array of flowers and leaves as the seasons change.

Both employees and volunteers from the band office came out to help put in the plants.

In all, more than 5,000 trees will be planted by 900 volunteers, including many bank employees, customers and community partners at 20 sites across the province as part of the annual Tree Day.

The TD FEF has provided more than $57 million in funding to more than 20,000 environmental projects across the country since 1990.

Thousands of donors contribute to the fund monthly and the TD Bank Group contributes more than $1 million every year.

The bank covers the management costs so that 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes to fund projects.



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