Friday, 29 September 2017 05:47

Tree planting ceremony in Swift Current celebrates Canada 150

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Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault fills the hole with soil during the tree planting ceremony. Elder Noel Starblanket and Tree Canada's D'Arcy Schenk planted the other two trees. Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault fills the hole with soil during the tree planting ceremony. Elder Noel Starblanket and Tree Canada's D'Arcy Schenk planted the other two trees.

A tree planting ceremony took place in Swift Current on Sept. 18 as part of a national initiative by Tree Canada to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.


This was one of 150 tree planting ceremonies across the country this year to celebrate an important milestone in Canadian history.
The tree planting ceremony took place at the flag court park on Central Avenue North. Three trees were planted – an autumn blaze maple, a paper birch, and a trembling aspen.
There was a smudge ceremony during the event and the trees were planted by Elder Noel Starblanket, Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault and D’Arcy Schenk, the Tree Canada community advisor for Saskatchewan South.
“As we put these trees in the ground, we commit them to Mother Earth,” Elder Starblanket said. “We ask them to grow, to have life. In our spirituality we honour these trees for giving their lives. They will give their lives at some point to help human beings.”
Trees are important symbols of life in First Nations culture and the purpose of the smudge ceremony was to honour them.
“We encourage them to grow, to stand tall, to be proud, to reach out to the creator and to give thanks to the creator,” he said. “We tell our brothers, the trees, that the creator has given us a medicine to help you grow. So we put tobacco in that hole and then we smudge it with sage to encourage it spiritually to grow.”
Swift Current is one of nine communities in Saskatchewan where Tree Canada will have Canada 150 tree planting events.
“This is one project of many that is taking place across Canada this year for Canada 150 and there’s also other projects going on as well that’s not directly connected to 150,” Schenk said. “I know I’ve got about eight in the next two weeks. So it’s going to keep me busy, but I love planting trees.”
He noted that Tree Canada has planted millions of trees over the years and the organization will continue to plant trees every year.
“Canada is all about sustainability and working for the environment, and trees are one of the best ways to do it,” he said.
Swift Current received a $5,000 grant from Tree Canada as one of the successful Canada 150 applicants. Mayor Perrault expressed appreciation towards Tree Canada for the grant.
“They’ve chosen Swift Current to invest in our community as a way to celebrate and commemorate Canada 150, something that’s very important to us,” he said.
The three trees planted during the ceremony will be part of an ongoing project to use trees, shrubs and perennials to beautify the flag court park, which is a very visible spot on this access road to the city's downtown area.
“We’ve got a little bit more work that will be happening as a way to beautify our city,” he said. “We want it to be welcoming. We want it to be a place where people feel at peace in our parks and our recreation areas, and we believe it’s a selling feature for our community and I hope the public shares that sentiment.”
According to Perrault, the many parks in the city represent an important asset to the community that helps to make Swift Current an appealing place to live.
“I believe that people are here in our community because of all of the assets that we’re able to put together and make a compelling selling feature for our community,” he said. “We have more parks than anywhere else in the province, we have more walking trails than anywhere else in the province and we’re very thankful for that, and with that it means we’ve got to maintain them.”

Read 229 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 September 2017 06:49
Matthew Liebenberg

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