Central Saanich residents had the opportunity to get their hands dirty by planting 30 fruit trees and a number of native shrubs and trees—while contributing to a bit of history—at this year’s Tree Appreciation Day on Saturday, November 17.
Every year, Central Saanich chooses a park or area of the municipality that would benefit from the planting of trees, and this year it was Central Saanich's 107-year-old Newman Farm.
“Tree Appreciation Day is a chance to bring more trees to our community along with the many benefits they provide,” says Mayor Ryan Windsor. “Holding this year’s event at Newman Farm is a chance for the community to visit this jewel and contribute to the ongoing farming activities and maintenance of the site.”
The Newman farm is a rare example of a small, subsistence farm on the Saanich peninsula. The Newman family had bought the farm in the 1890s and generations of family had kept it in its original condition, growing their own fruits and vegetables and raising prize-winning jersey cattle until 1996.
In 2003, the Newman brothers donated the 16.5-acre farm to the District of Central Saanich, which cares for the property in a manner than honours the brothers’ wishes. The farm includes the family’s farmhouse, original cabins, chicken coop, barn, outhouse, milking barn, four sheds and two boathouses—many of the buildings are now heritage sites.
Due to the fragility of many of the historic buildings in this area and safety concerns, access is currently limited, but it was open for the public to view on Tree Appreciation Day. Residents were invited to look inside the farmhouse and had a chance to learn about life on the farm.
Thanks to Le Coteau Nursey for donating all the fruit trees, Tree Canada for providing the native plants and trees, Bartlett Tree Experts for their planting expertise, and to the Central Saanich Lions for keeping everyone warm with hot chocolate.
Did you know? Tree Canada, points out some of the benefits trees offer:
- One large tree can provide a day’s oxygen for up to four people.
- Trees capture carbon and become carbon ‘sinks’ which reduce the Greenhouse Effect. (You need about 500 full-sized trees to absorb the carbon dioxide produced by a typical car driven 20,000 km/year.)
- Trees provide shelter for wildlife.
- Trees intercept rainfall and reduce run-off, thereby functioning like retention/detention basins.
- Trees have a psychological impact of trees on people’s moods, emotions and enjoyment of their surroundings.
Thank you to everyone who came out for the fun on the farm and helped care of the orchards at this farm. The fruit will be harvested by Farmlands Trust Society for donation to local food banks and Out Place Society. You can get involved with the farm through farmlandstrust.org.