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New organization focused on tree planting, promoting sustainability

Durham Trees for Life recently founded

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

A newly created organization in Oshawa is looking to motivate residents to get involved in environmentally-friendly and sustainable activities.

Durham Trees For Life is the first Ontario-based chapter of The Global Foundation For Social Harmony and Sustainable Development (GFoundation).

GFoundation is an Alberta-based organization which promotes arts and culture, cooperative communities, and corporate sustainable practices. It’s overriding concern is to promote activities which prevent or mitigate climate change.

Oshawa resident Roger Hurtubise has been named interim chair of a provisional committee created to shape the vision of Durham Trees For Life.

Hurtubise told The Oshawa Express he is one of a group of local community members who wanted to promote tree planting in Durham Region.

He said Winston Gereluk, president of GFoundation, had approached him to become part of their group.

“He said instead of us starting our own incorporated organization, we could become a charter of [GFoundation], and operate on our own,” he said.

Hurtubise says the vision of Durham Trees For Life goes well beyond just planting trees.

“What we want to do is create a society where every person can be involved in a very simple way. It’s about motivating individuals and groups of people to get involved, and showing them how they can get involved in doing something for the environment,” he said.

They are seeking volunteers to work with the team, with Hurtubise noting they’ll require people with “hands on experience” to those who can take on smaller tasks.

“You want a team of those really committed, where there would be about five or six people there who could really work at getting a much bigger group of volunteers,” he said.

Durham Trees For Life will also serve as a source of information and resources for those wanting to get involved.

The organization is already selling trees for $20, but Hurtubise notes these won’t be planted until next spring.

They are working with the City of Oshawa on the project, and the municipality has identified a location west of Lakeview Park where the trees will be planted.

“They are the ones who are going to tell me, ‘We’d like these types of trees,’ and it’s going to be coordinated by them,” he said.

Hurtubise said the scope of Durham Trees For Life’s work will really depend on the amount of resources they can get together.

However, a long-term goal is to plant one tree for every city resident per year.

“That seems too much for us in the first year, but that would be an objective,” he said.

To purchase a tree, volunteer or for more information, contact Hurtubise at 905-914-1545 or email