Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Northern Sunrise County is offering its residents the opportunity to order seedlings to help restore shelterbelts on their properties.

“With the end of the provincial shelterbelt program in 2013, the County recognized the ongoing need for access to affordable tree and shrub seedlings,” says NSC environmental program coordinator Katie Bartman.

“Shelterbelts offer a range of benefits including wind protection, energy savings, biodiversity support, aesthetics, carbon sequestration, increased property value, and long-term investment returns. These benefits not only impact the immediate property or farm but also contribute positively to the environment and community at large,” she adds.

Seedlings are being sold in bundles of 10, ranging from $5 per bundle up to $53 for specialty species.

“Orders are accepted until all species are sold, following a first-come, first-served basis,” says Bartman.

“The form is typically accessible in November or December of the previous year.”

Bartman says they aim to offer a diverse selection of species native to the region and also some specialty species, like the “superfruit” Haskap berries.

“Trees offer a range of immediate and long-term advantages for the environment, while also improving the visual appeal of the land,” says Bartman.

“Shelterbelts not only safeguard properties and livestock but also support wildlife and pollinators, preserve soil quality, offer space for edible species, recharge groundwater, establish microclimates, and safeguard water quality.”

She explains that although the program gives priority to NSC residents, surplus plants may come available to other regions as applicable.

“By offering cost-effective seedlings, the program promotes the numerous long-term advantages that trees bring,” says Bartman.

“Each order includes planting tips and instructions sent with the email summary of the order, in addition agriculture services staff are available for support,” she adds.

“Also, don’t miss out on a hands-on opportunity in collaboration with Northern Sunrise, and the M.D. of Smoky River, April 30 at the Smoky River Regional Fire Hall in Falher, to get your hands dirty and learn how to plant trees for success.”