News Story

Mormons Celebrate Earth Day by Planting Trees 

Toronto members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered together on the morning of April 22, 2017 — Earth Day — to do their part in preparing for the annual planting of trees in the Rouge River Valley.

Toronto-area Mormon Helping Hands worked closely with the non-profit organization 10,000 Trees for the Rouge, participating in the annual event. Volunteers moved trees, delivered by nurseries, from their drop-off spot to the areas where they would be planted. Within three hours the volunteers moved about 5,000 young trees — this year’s quota — to their planting locations.

10,000 Trees for the Rouge is a volunteer, non-profit group dedicated to restoring the natural habitat within the Rouge River watershed, located on the northeastern outskirts of Toronto.

Local Mormon congregations have been participating for many years in the project to restore the watershed in the Rouge Valley.  

Willa Harris, the project co-ordinator, said, “We couldn’t do it without the Mormons.”

Larry Ng, former public affairs director for the Toronto Ontario Stake, said, “The annual 10,000 Trees for the Rouge planting event provides an excellent opportunity for members of the Church to serve and foster relationships with members of our community. It also allows people of all ages to mingle and work alongside one another for a common goal of giving back to the community by restoring natural habitat in our city.”

The tree plantings are intended to restore the Rouge River’s watershed to natural cover, protect creeks and streams from soil erosion, help link existing islands of forest and extend wildlife corridors.

The event coincided with Earth Day, a worldwide annual celebration to remind all humankind to treat the earth and all things on it responsibly. Mormons believe that God created the earth to provide a place for the human family to learn, progress and improve. However, people are stewards — not owners — over the earth and its bounty and will be accountable before God for what they do with His creations.

President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church stated, “We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations” (“The Creation,” Ensign, May 2000).

The Mormon Helping Hands program reflects the desire of Mormons to follow the example of Jesus Christ by serving others and being a steward of our environment. The Earth Day tree-planting event provided an opportunity for Toronto members to apply these teachings in their community.

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