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Why Sobeys is planting trees in Nova Scotia one sapling at a time

April 21, 2021

Eliminating plastic bags and partnering with tree planting charity, One Tree Planted, moves Sobeys toward a greener future.

Sometimes you just have to plant the seed. As Sobeys recently moved to phase out plastic bags, it also announced its donation commitments to international charity One Tree Planted. The result: a national, tree-planting, carbon-offsetting program!

“Restoring forests is the mission that wakes us up in the morning – and we celebrate every restoration success,” says Diana Chaplin of One Tree Planted. Her role is to share stories about the company as the hub of the information wheel, the connection between the environmental action and the communication of the importance of the work.

“The best part is being able to do this in a positive way, one that inspires others or provides education without being dry,” she says. “I also love hearing directly from our many partners on the ground, including tree planters, staff and community members. They are all so appreciative of the opportunity to help.”

Sobeys began planting trees in Nova Scotia for the reforestation project. Specifically, Sobeys is planting saplings in regions of Antigonish County and Pictou County. Both, of which are just 170 km North of Halifax – in case you’re wanting to watch the new forest grow.

The sapling species being planted in Nova Scotia

“Sobeys helped us plant 14,000 trees in the region,” Diana says, “including white spruce, red spruce and red oak – species all carefully selected for each site with biodiversity, climate stability and the surrounding community in mind. We restored 27 acres of old, degraded agricultural land that would have otherwise not been restored through traditional reforestation.”

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Restoring forests is the mission that wakes us up in the morning – and we celebrate every restoration success.  

The differences that planting trees in Nova Scotia can make

As you can imagine, the ecological benefits of a project like this are many, providing various advantages to the habitat, while also helping to remove carbon dioxide from the air. Diana says that the seedlings will help to reforest the area, support wildlife restoration and increase biodiversity. The white spruce is a valuable middle layer of tree coverage, home to various insects and small mammals. Red spruce is particularly resilient in the face of climate change. The red oak also provides quality food and habitat for the region’s wildlife.

“The trees will also help to restore natural foliage, increase climate-change resilience, reduce erosion, and protect the area during hurricanes and other extreme weather, which this region is prone to,” she adds. Through early planting, these new Nova Scotia areas are expected to turn into more complex ecosystems.

Along with the environment, the communities also benefit, big time. Tree planting improves water and air quality, and creates healthy, natural spaces to be enjoyed for years to come.

Maintaining a commitment to reforestation

The Sobeys partnership with One Tree Planted continues along with a commitment to carbon footprint reduction: With each $1 USD donated, the organization pledges to plant one tree. That means that even though the work in Nova Scotia is done, planting will continue in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

“It’s an immense team effort, from growing the seedlings in nurseries to gathering supplies, connecting with the community, managing the administrative tasks, planting and monitoring,” Diana says. “Lots of people are involved in executing a reforestation project from start to finish.”

As for the planters themselves, it’s a tight-knit group that makes life-long friends.“We all support each other because we share a common goal of preserving the beauty of the natural world,” Diana says. “In a way, this also allows us to channel our concerns about the climate. The more we act to restore trees and forests, the less powerless we feel in the face of some pretty big global challenges around the environment.”

By Doug Wallace

Saplings ready for planting in Nova Scotia