Rooted in Hope 2023-24 Project finishes

Rooted in Hope Training 
Gore Meadows
Rooted in Hope Training at Gore Meadows Community Centre

The Rooted in Hope 2023-24 project hosted its final event on Sunday April 21st. About a dozen and a half participants, one third seniors and two thirds secondary school students, enjoyed the bright sunshine yet below seasonal temperatures for the final tree monitoring training at Gore Meadows Community Centre.

Rooted in Hope was designed to create an opportunity for seniors to improve their physical and mental health as well as enhance community connectedness. They did this through participating in light outdoor physical activity while mentoring and supporting secondary school students in a tree planting and monitoring project that would also improve students’ interdisciplinary academic skills.

The project included:

  • 5 seniors health workshops, where seniors learned how outdoor activity improves balance, reduces falling risk, and contributes to overall physical and mental health,
  • 2 bike safety workshops where seniors were encouraged to use active transportation and promote safe biking practices within the community,
  • 3 tree planting events were organized in September 2023, in collaboration with TRCA, where seniors and students worked together to learn how to plant and properly mulch over 300 trees.
  • 2 tree monitoring training sessions in the fall of 2023, one at Centennial Park and one at Batsman Park.
  • The third and final tree monitoring training event was originally scheduled for March 23rd, 2024 but was snowed out! The “snow” date was Sunday April 21st.

The tree monitoring educational program, delivered in collaboration with the Association of Canadian Educational Resources, (ACER), teamed students and seniors, training them to use measuring equipment, identify tree species, triage tree disease issues, create reports to be sent to the City to inform their Urban Forest Plan and participate in leadership training, so they can teach other students at their respective schools with the help of their senior mentor. All the while exposing both students and seniors to the beauty of Brampton’s forests and green spaces and the importance of protecting both for future generations.

Rooted in Hope Training Outdoor
Sadia describes stored carbon calculation for new trees.

Financial support came from an Ontario Seniors Community grant. The project met or exceeded all required outcomes. Ninety-eight percent of the senior respondents indicated the project helped them feel more engaged in their community. Eighty-eight percent indicated it helped reduce their social isolation. And 95% indicated the project met their needs and interests. Many of the students indicated they learned valuable skills from the training that could take back to their schools and that would help them in their future careers. Almost all of them said they had a lot of fun while working on the project.

Students were given a set of instruments and tools to continue their tree monitoring activities. And each student participant was given a handbook they could use as a reference guide to help students and their senior advisors expand their knowledge and impact in their respective schools. Our hope is that this guide will allow the students and seniors we have trained to work together to start their own “Eco-Clubs” in their schools where one doesn’t already exist. This will continue momentum within the schools beyond this specific project scope. We have also applied for a second Ontario Seniors Community grant with the intent to continue and expand the project in the fall of 2024 through the spring of 2025.

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