15,000 Free Eastern White Pine Seedlings Will Make Ontario Greener

EWP seedling

The government of Ontario will be giving away 15,000 free seed pods of Eastern White Pine – its official tree – to make the province greener and cleaner for future generations. Among North America’s most valuable trees, these pines are known for living as long as 500 years and growing to nearly 130 feet in height. The government hopes people will plant them in places where they can be enjoyed many years into the future.

“The Eastern White Pine is the official tree of the province of Ontario and we want to be able to re-green the province,” says Michael Gravelle, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines. “These can grow into incredible, beautiful trees in our conifer forest… In the 17 and 1800s these tall, sturdy, straight trees were constructed into ships’ masts and the best were stamped and claimed by the Crown for their Royal Navy vessels.”

Distributed at schools and community events across Ontario, the seed pods will add beauty to the natural landscapes along the highways and waterways as well as in neighborhoods and parks, says Gravelle. Participants can register the trees they plant on an interactive map at GreenLeafChallenge.ca.

We’re excited about this project initiated by our neighbors to the north – maybe some New England states will follow suit!

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Adventures of a Canadian Eastern White Pine Born in 1867

eastern white pine ontario

Now 150 years old and 120 feet high, one Eastern White Pine in what is now Gillies Grove in Ontario stands in a grove of its brethren, representing the tallest white pines in the nation. In a profile on Inside Ottawa Valley, conservation biologist Brenda Van Sleeuwen of the Nature Conservancy of Canada explains just what this tree had to overcome in order to make it this far. Up there, the Eastern White Pine is moving in the opposite direction of those in the United States – south – in response to climate change, which could change this particular tree’s luck but help the species overall survive.

From the piece by Derek Dunn, printed in the Arnprior Chronicle-Guide:

Our white pine’s recent relatives, at the turn of the 19th century, fought for Britain during the Napoleonic Wars. Their long, straight trunks made a fleet of formidable masts to brave the ocean winds on behalf of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Their children, or pine’s parents, enjoyed a more peaceful if less purposeful life. They would travel on the newly invented railway system to furniture stores, largely in eastern cities of the United States. Our pine was too small for the Royal Navy and too large for holiday festivities.

Sound familiar? The Eastern White Pine here in the U.S. had a similar brush with the British Royal Navy, playing a key role in events that led to the Revolutionary War and American Independence from England. Its tall trunks – reaching up to 240 feet – were highly desirable as ship’s masts, and in fact, colonists were so enamored with it, they nearly wiped it out. Thankfully, conservation measures and sustainable forestry have brought back many an evergreen forest full of these towering beauties.

Could the southward movement of the Eastern White Pine from Canada and the northward movement in the United States result in an even higher concentration of the species in Northeastern states like Maine and Vermont? Quite possibly – only time will tell.

Image of an Eastern White Pine in Ontario via Wikimedia Commons

White Water Village: Eastern White Pine Cottage in Ontario

whitewater 1

Eastern white pine was chosen as the primary material for a series of cottages at White Water Village, a sustainable, all-season community on the Ottawa River in Canada. Built by Kealey & Tackaberry Log Homes, the cottages feature timber dove-tail log construction and include a timber-framed screen room and an open deck.

whitewater 2

Kealey & Tackaberry is dedicated to creating homes that meet their clients’ needs, style and budget using materials that are sustainable and renewable. The company seeks out materials that are both environmentally responsible and authentic.

whitewater 4

Eastern white pine meets these requirements both in its standout beauty as long, large-circumference hand-peeled or hewn logs, and by being harvested at the end of its life cycle to ensure healthy forests. “In fact, our homes leave a small carbon footprint behind,” says K&T. “We believe, with each home produced, we actually help create a better world.”

whitewater 3

Learn more about the sustainability of Eastern White Pine.