Over 800 trees from Prince Edward Island are putting their roots down in Fort McMurray soil.
Veseys Seeds in York, P.E.I. donated the trees, as well as 375 hedging plants and 10 vines to help grow back what was lost in the wildfires.
The donation, valued over $13,000, was part of a “series of pay it forward good gestures that made all it happen,” said Glenn Holmes of Veseys.
Idea started with a customer in Fort McMurray
Holmes said it all started when he was contacted by Sabrina Lepine, who is from Fort McMurray.
“Sabrina was a customer of ours through a fundraiser,” said Holmes. “She had placed an order with us and received an email saying her order was on its way.”
The next day, the community was evacuated because of the wildfires.
Holmes says the company heard from Sabrina a few weeks later on behalf of her teenage daughter Caitlyn, who was worried about the loss of trees. She started a project with the goal of replanting in the community.
“[Caitlyn] wanted to make Fort McMurray green again,” said Holmes.
Veseys had just come to the end of their mail order shipping season so they decided to send all of their remaining trees to Fort McMurray.
“I think as all Islanders and Canadians, everyone wanted to know what can we do. So when this plant a tree project came to us, it made sense to us,” said Holmes.
“I had the task of packing up the trees. We shipped a total of 16 boxes.”
‘We will rebuild’
Then they had to figure out how to get the trees to Fort McMurray.
Holmes contacted Midland Transport, who within minutes agreed to donate their freight.
Midland doesn’t travel to Western Canada, but Holmes said their partner for western deliveries agreed to donate the costs and freight for their portion of the journey.
This week staff at Veseys got to see where their P.E.I. trees ended up.
Lepine posted on Veseys Facebook page, telling them the trees had been given out to members of the community, including going to food banks for their clients and horse lots.
This seedling from P.E.I. made its way into the ground in Fort McMurray. (Facebook)
She wrote, “Your donation has seen many tearful hugs throughout our community. We will rebuild.”
“It just blossomed from one great idea,” Holmes said. “We wanted to do something and it was a little part we could do.”
“To have trees from P.E.I. now helping Fort McMurray rebuild and put smiles on peoples’ faces is pretty special to us.”