Rotary Club of Guelph South donates to first legacy tree preservation project on April 29 at Woodland Memorial Park

On Saturday April 29, 2023, Guelph Tree Trust will provide arborist care for a magnificent old Black Walnut tree in Woodlawn Memorial Park in Guelph. Recently formed by a small group of tree-loving volunteers in Guelph, the newly formed Guelph Tree Trust (GTT) is focused on the preservation of mature trees that provide a tremendous environmental value to both our community and the world. GTT is one of seven chapters in Ontario of Tree Trust, a program of the Elora Environment Centre, a registered charity. 
The Rotary Club of Guelph South is proud to be a sponsor of this first legacy tree preservation project.
 “We are grateful for a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Guelph South which has made this work possible,” says Sue Riestchin of GTT. “This elder tree will receive the care it needs to ensure that the city will have the benefits of its huge canopy and root system for as long as possible. This legacy tree is estimated to be as old as the cemetery itself at 160 years.” 
“Woodlawn Memorial Park is pleased to be hosting Guelph Tree Trust’s inaugural event. This Black Walnut Juglans nigra tree is one of over a thousand trees in the cemetery managed by Woodlawn Memorial Park. Many of these trees are old, very large and require special expertise to prune and maintain their health. Woodlawn Memorial Park is delighted to have the help of GTT to maintain this impressive tree,” says Rebecca Kit, General Manager of Woodlawn Memorial Park (
“As a not-for-profit organization, we appreciate the efforts of the Tree Trust program to assist in saving our historical trees,” adds Kit. “We have so many beautiful species of varying ages that make Woodlawn a truly unique Cemetery. We hope to preserve these pillars of our past for future generations to enjoy. Guelph Tree Trust is making it possible for properties like Woodlawn to maintain trees that otherwise may be left to their demise due to a lack of resources. The team and I are grateful to be chosen as the recipient of these much-needed services.” 
“We are honoured to be a part of this important environmental initiative,” says Rotary Club of Guelph South Club and Board President, Martin Litchfield. “Our donation to this project was part of our December 15, 2022 meeting where we were pleased to present 10 charities with donations - a total of $11,000. Organized by our Service Projects Committee, Tree Trust Guelph was among the organizations chosen to receive a donation from our Club.”
Preserving and ensuring the longevity of the existing tree canopy and legacy trees such as the Black Walnut in the cemetery is very important. One of these large trees does the environmental work of 260 saplings and has often grown to have a significant place in the history of the land and city. Through raising funds to pay a team of specialized arborists, who will work under the direction of the GTT arborist, Doug Steel of Full Circle Tree Care, GTT will provide the care needed to sustain valuable legacy trees in Guelph. 
The public will be invited to attend and watch the arborists pruning high in the crown of this legacy tree and members of GTT will be on hand to provide information on the tree and pruning work. The event will include tree-related family friendly activities such as guided tree walks within the cemetery. And Rotary Club of Guelph South will also be there to see this important project unfold.

In addition to the sponsorship by the Rotary Club of Guelph South, donations from individuals and other organizations such as the Guelph Horticultural Society, have provided a foundation for this project, but fundraising continues to pay for the care of this and other legacy trees in the future. For more information about the event and to donate or volunteer, please contact GTT at or visit


Submitted by Shelley Adlington

Rotary Club of Guelph South