Have you hugged your tree today?

Tree in springThe Bruce Peninsula in Southern Ontario, surrounded by Lake Huron, is home to the world renowned Bruce Trail, two national parks (one is underwater), and the unique Oliphant fen. It’s been designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and happens to be a very favourite place of mine. [Full disclosure: this is where my guy has a cottage that’s been in his family for over 40 years.]

The Bruce is full of surprises and inspirations. You can drive down a gravel road and be gobsmacked by a stunning view around the bend. Or  someone who lives on the Bruce will come up with an amazing idea–the place has always been full of creative types, after all. Tom Thomson of The Group of Seven grew up here. A recent amazing idea is the Extraordinary Tree Project and though it’s a contest only open to residents of The Bruce, the idea itself is an inspiration to gardeners the world over.

Celebrating the significance and influence of a tree in our lives was the starting point for The Extraordinary Tree project. It could be a tree in your garden, the one that’s supported a swing for several generations of family members, for instance. Or it could be a tree you discovered on a walk in the woods. It might be the tree you helped save from loggers. Or it might be that tree that’s still there because you designed an extra long driveway that curved all the way around it to avoid having to chop it down. Whatever your tree, the people behind the Extraordinary Tree project aim to heighten the awareness of our collective understanding of trees’ natural and cultural values. Sounds like a great idea no matter where you live.

If your home is on The Bruce, you’ve got until July 31st to download the nomination form and submit your photo(s) and 500-word story. Winners earn “bragging rights” to having an extraordinary tree.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll go out to our backyard (a three-hour drive south of The Bruce) and hug our very old maple tree. It’s been pretty good to us in its quiet, sheltering, shady, spectacular-in-a-thunderstorm way. That tree is our extraordinary tree. Always will be.


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