LEAF program plants seeds at Jane & Finch

How a group of tenants are “greening up” their Tobermory community

tenant standing in a park next to a tree and smiling

Nuradin “Nur” Mohamed admiring young trees in the Tobermory Community

The Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) program is planting its seeds in TCHC neighborhoods tree by tree. In 2021 they established their tree and shrub planting program in the Tobermory community in the Jane and Finch area. LEAF has been working with TCHC and the City of Toronto over the last five years to engage communities in the planting and stewardship of native trees and shrubs on TCHC properties.

In every community it plants in, LEAF hires a group of tenants as Tree Stewards, through their Tree Stewardship program. The program goes beyond planting and maintaining trees on Toronto Community Housing property. This program inspires tenant youth to be environmentally responsible in their communities and to find work in the green sector.

For Nuradin “Nur” Mohamed, a York University Environmental Studies major, the LEAF Tree Stewardship program was exactly what he needed to take what he learned at school and match it with real life environmental job experience. “My program is very theory-based, a lot of reading, writing environmental reports and presenting on them. So when I walked into my building and saw the Tree Stewardship job posting, I was excited to apply,” Nur said. “I knew stewardship was taking care of the planet and being equally responsible for the environment and that’s what I want to do. It was great to be involved in my community, work in the industry I’m studying but also be a part of something I’m passionate about.”

The Tree Stewardship project also aims to engage tenants and staff in TCHC communities to improve the local tree canopy, providing tenants with the many benefits that trees offer. A central element of the project is the engagement of local tenants and site staff in planting locations, species selection and stewardship. LEAF provides Tree Stewards with training and tree care resources to make sure each tree and shrub thrives.

“When I move on from Tobermory I will leave something long lasting behind,” said Nur. "When I come back, I can still admire the trees I planted.”

In 2022, LEAF helped “green up” 21 TCHC communities with over 300 native trees and shrubs through the TCHC Planting and Stewardship Initiative, which is funded by the City of Toronto’s Urban Forestry Grant.  Visit yourleaf.org/tch-green to learn more about the program.