In Wildfires' Wake, Tree Planters Aim to Restore Canadian Forests

Jul 28, 2023

Thought Question: What can we do to help nature recover after wildfires and other natural disasters?

Over 100,000 square kilometers (38,610 square miles) of Canadian forests, prairies, and parklands have been ravaged by wildfires this summer. This is more than any other year in recorded history. As the blazes continue eastward they leave behind lifeless, burnt terrain. Yet there is hope for regrowth and renewal. That is thanks to Canada’s dedicated teams of tree planters.  

For the past three years, college student Leslie Dart has spent her summers planting trees across Canada. She does this in the wake of wildfires and in places where logging and timber companies have harvested wood. Though she told The Canada Press the work is “incredibly rewarding,” she also understands its difficulties.     

“It could start the day off sunny and then minutes later, it will just be raining, torrential downpours, hailing, or snowing. You never know what to expect,” she said. “There were some days that we were planting through a heat wave, so we had like 37-to-40-degree (Celsius; 98-104 degrees Fahrenheit) weather for several days straight and that was really difficult.”

Dart has planted 372,290 trees in three years. She sometimes plants more than 5,000 a day. On a 5,415-tree day last year, she recorded a TikTok of her process. Her spade-shoving, seed-slinging video went viral with 8.7 million views.  

Dart isn’t alone, either. The British Columbia (BC) Ministry of Forests estimates that 1.7 billion trees have been planted in their province alone since 2017. BC has lost 12,900 square kilometers of woodland to wildfires already this year. Because of this, they’re leaning on planters like Dart to help with the recovery

Photo from Public Domain courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The author’s use of a problem and solution text structure supports the reader in answering which of the following questions? (Common Core RI.5.5; RI.6.5)
a. How long has Leslie Dart been planting trees?
b. What are the challenges faced by tree-planters like Leslie Dart?
c. How many trees did the British Columbia Ministry of Forests estimate have been planted in their province since 2017?
d. How can the Canadian forests recover after the devastating wildfires?
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