Siemens Canada, designated one of Canada's 'Greenest Employers' for the fifth consecutive year, continued its Earth Day tradition Friday planting 1,500 native-species trees across Canada.
In Tillsonburg, in partnership with Long Point Region Conservation Area and Tree Canada, 17 Siemens employees from Tillsonburg's wind blade manufacturing facility planted 100 trees at Gyulveszi Park.
"I've done plenty of planting trees at home," said Neil Brooks, Siemens Canada plant manager in Tillsonburg. "I think I put in seven today.
"Part of it's giving back to the community," said Brooks. "And it's about getting to know people – it's a good networking event as well."
"This is the third year that Siemens (Tillsonburg) has partaken in a tree planting event," said Paul Gagnon, LPRCA Lands and Water Supervisor, noting the first set of trees were planted at the Siemens facility, and last year at Annandale Park on Concession Street.
"This year we have 100 tall stock, native species – a lot of them are Carolinian species – suitable for this site," said Gagnon. "Tulip trees, American sycamore, hackberry, hard maple, white pine, and a variety of oak species."
The choice of sites was made based on a recommendation from the Town of Tillsonburg, who identify locations they feel could use more shade and natural areas.
"The town will be able to maintain the site quite effectively by mowing between the rows," said Gagnon.
Paul DeCloet, a member of the town's Heritage, Beautification and Cemetery Advisory Committee, was able to lend some tree-planting expertise Friday afternoon.
"What Siemens is doing here, I think that's the spirit of a community," said DeCloet. "Because they've got all these young people out here doing things that 20 years ago (corporations) never would have done... never would have thought of doing."
Since 2012, Siemens has contributed nearly $300,000 to Tree Canada, and planted more than 6,000 trees nationwide, collectively reducing the carbon footprint by more than 42 tonnes. This year, Siemens presented a $51,000 contribution to Tree Canada, and 300 Siemens employees from 15 Canadian cities planted 1,500 trees at various planting sites.
"Sustainability at Siemens Canada means acting in the best interest of society with a long-term vision as opposed to a short-term gain," explained Robert Hardt, CEO, Siemens Canada, in a media release. "We accomplish this by looking at our own footprint and the change we can affect, by engaging our employees in environmental initiatives on an ongoing basis and by continually innovating our products to be as efficient as possible."
Keep Tillsonburg Beautiful
Tillsonburg's annual community tree planting and cleanup day, traditionally known as Keep Tillsonburg Beautiful Day, is Saturday, May 7.
"This year we're planting trees at South Ridge Park, at the back. We have a lovely site where we'll be planting 600 trees on May 7th," said DeCloet. "We're going to get the boys and girls to help us (including Scouts and Guides), and we'll have lunch for them... all the volunteers who come out. It's an exciting day."
The cleanup will take place mainly around Lake Lisgar.
"It's split into two groups, both equally important," said DeCloet.