Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Student supports tree planting

imageJudith Parker, Foundation Secretary, accepts donation from Mercedes Prout

Student from Exeter area helps to protect forests locally, globally with donations to Footprints to Forests, rainforest

Nine-year-old Mercedes Prout, challenged by school project, raised $470 for forests through bake sale at Exeter United Church; her grandparents matched money raised

A nine-year-old student from the Exeter area has helped to make the world a better place with donations to enhance and protect forests at the local and global levels. Mercedes Prout raised $470 in a bake sale at Exeter United Church in February. Her grandparents, Bev and Tom Prout, matched the money raised with an additional $470. Mercedes is donating this money to support 1) local tree planting through the local Carbon Footprints to Forests Program; and 2) rainforest protection through the international Rainforest Trust.

Mercedes visited the offices of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF) on March 12, 2018 to present $470 to local tree planting through the Carbon Footprints to Forests carbon capture program. Accepting the donation on behalf of the Foundation was Judith Parker, ABCF Secretary.

Mercedes attends the SOAR (Self-directed Opportunities, Achievements, and Rewards) program at Seaforth Public School. One of her academic projects challenged Mercedes to think about the world around her and the types of actions that make up a person’s character. “I love the rainforest, I think it’s amazing,” she said. “I decided to help it … I decided to take action by raising money.” The student came up with the idea of a bake sale to help the rainforest globally and forest conditions locally. “My whole family helped with the bake sale, and my church family was amazingly supportive,” she said. 

Thanks to the fundraising efforts by Mercedes, Ausable Bayfield Conservation will plant 85 trees locally in a permanent plantation in this area. Those trees, in their lifetimes, are expected to capture more than 28 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). This lasting tree planting will help our local area, and our planet, to mitigate and adapt to weather extremes and changes in our climate.

Carbon Footprints to Forests began with seed money from the County of Huron in 2014. The Maitland Valley and Ausable Bayfield conservation authorities continue to maintain the program’s tree planting work thanks to donations from community groups and individuals through the website.

Many people are concerned about carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases they put into the air through travel, through the day-to-day use of their cars or trucks, and the fuel and electricity they use to heat and run their house. Some people are counter-balancing these greenhouse gases, from energy used at home or work, and travel, by donating to lasting local tree planting through Carbon Footprints to Forests.

The website has a fun and easy-to-use carbon calculator. You can use it to find out how much greenhouse gas you produce and how many trees need to be planted to capture that greenhouse gas. You can also find out how much it would cost to plant those trees. You may then choose to donate all or part of your carbon footprint, if you wish.

If your community group is interested in compensating for greenhouse gases released by participant travel to your meeting or event, you may use the drop-down menu of the carbon calculator for a ‘one-time event’ to calculate. If your business or organization would like to counter-balance your carbon footprint, you may call Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 519-235-2610 or Maitland Valley Conservation Authority at 519-335-3557 to talk to staff and find out more about how to counter-balance your carbon footprint.

Trees help us to adapt to our changing climate by providing shade during hot days and limiting the effects of wind and snow when it gets cold, according to the Carbon Footprints to Forests program. Trees also provide habitat for diverse species and help to protect the quality of local water.

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