Thursday, October 15, 2020


As a member and president of FOSS, I attended a planting at Whimbrel Point, Col Sam Smith Park.

All volunteers had to sign-in online for attendance control and COVID 19 clearance.

The planting started at 10 am. 15 volunteers had signed up to help. Many of them were members of FOSS Steering Committee plus members of FOSS and other locals who saw the request distributed by FOSS on social media. 14 listed volunteers showed. We all wore our masks.

This made a full complement of volunteers.

When we arrived at the Point, the TRCA leader and assistant were already present. They had ample signage placed on the approach to the Point saying what was going on and listing the COVID protocols. Other park users stayed clear of our planting.

They had placed all the shrubs and other plants we were going to use in the designated spots for each. These areas included two patches. One was mostly planted the year before but was now cleared of weeds. There was a large variety of plants. Tools were placed at the site for us. We used our own shovel for the planting and put it in a used pile at the end.

Before we started, Jacob Mokrzynski and his assistant welcomed us, gave background, checked us off his list and explained the COVID rules.

We were broken up into groups and brought over to the planting site where the work was described. We then had a sample planting done for each group so that plants were put in properly, giving them the best chance for success. The mulching for each type was also explained. There was a large pile of mulch placed at the site for us to gather in buckets for each plant.

Jake and assistant worked alongside each group to answer questions and assist with the planting. They had a tent set up as well but it was not used. The weather was cool and ideal for the work.

Mulch was used for each plant and the excess was used to coat the entire area to help prevent weeds from growing in the patches.

I took several photos of the operation as well as a group photo at the end. We were finished before noon, which was the planned end time. The photos were placed on the FOSS website and to other media.

Last year when we did the planting in the first patch by the point, we took a longer time-period. This was a problem for those of us who had cars in the south parking lot, as after two hours of parking, tickets could be given. I went back to the parking lot early to ask the parking authorities not to ticket us. They had chalked the tires and were about to ticket. They took my story and did not ticket there. A simple solution to this problem with volunteers being ticketed would be to provide a small sign on the registration site to those registered to be put in the windshield showing TRCA Volunteer Event with the date.

The process and execution of the planting was very well prepared and executed by the staff of the TRCA.

I thanked the TRCA staff present as well as all the volunteers for their work.

I also thank their boss Vince D’Elia for checking in near the end of the planting and for his part in getting staff and organizing the event.

Brian Keaveney

FOSS President

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