The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle that arrived in North America via wood shipping crates from north-eastern Asia. First discovered in Michigan, this destructive species has spread throughout the U.S., Ontario and Quebec, wreaking havoc on ash trees and the surrounding ecosystem. The Ottawa region has been dramatically impacted with entire stands of trees lost.

Killing the ash trees is just one aspect of emerald ash borer damage. The loss of the trees has a cascading effect on the rest of the ecosystem. A dead ash tree has no leaves, creating holes in the canopy and as often as not allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor feeding any invasive species that have been waiting for their opportunity to thrive.

Any plants or animals that depend on the ash tree for protection or food are negatively impacted by the loss of the mature ash trees. Loss of ash trees can have a detrimental impact on the makeup of the soil leading to increased erosion and further environmental degradation.

Local forests have also been impacted by real estate development, road construction, the removal of agricultural windrows. Many local Ottawa clubs have embarked in regular tree planting activities with support from Forests Ontario.

The Rotary Club of Arnprior has planted thousands of trees, 22,840 over two years to be exact. Project TREES (Trees Restoring the Environment and Ensuring Sustainability) has purchased and planted white spruce, white pine and red pine as part of. an agreement under Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program.

In addition to supporting local forest health, tree planting is an important way to improve community life. With supporting funding from the Rotary District trees for a small fruit tree orchard have been purchased and planted as part of the community gardens at Clay Bank Nature Park for Outdoor Learning. 

The Clay Bank Nature Park for Outdoor Learning is an expansive 20+ hectare property mixed woodlands and grasslands habitat situated along the Madawaska River between Arnprior and the village of White Lake. The park provides local community recreation as well habitat for the conservation and recovery of endemic Bobolink and Easter Meadowlark bird populations.