Free the Ocean Blog

Meet Leslie Dirt - the tree-planting rockstar of Canada

If you’ve been browsing social media platforms lately, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ve encountered an incredibly impressive video featuring a young woman named Leslie Dart, who managed to plant an astonishing 4,545 trees within a single day! What’s even more remarkable is that this is just a typical day for her during the summer season.

Photo Credit: Leslie Dart TikTok

From Aerospace to Trees

You might be wondering what a person like Leslie, a recent grad from Durham College in Ontario with a degree in aerospace manufacturing, is doing out in the wild planting trees. Well, Leslie’s tree-planting journey is a summer passion, a ritual she’s come to love.

Not just a job. It's ajourney.

Tree planting in Canada isn’t just about digging and dropping seeds. It’s an experience. Kenny Chaplin, who’s been at this for 35 summers, believes it’s the perfect summer school for youngsters because this job teaches responsibility, the value of hard work, and the joy of earning. At a rate of 17-44 cents per tree planted, the pennies add up!

And this isn’t just any random task. This eco-mission is backed by provincial laws. Every tree that’s logged for Canada’s booming timber industry is replaced, thanks to heroes like Leslie. Over three summers, Leslie’s efforts have gifted the earth with 372,290 trees.

The Rugged Terrain of a Planter

There are challenges to contend with. Sometimes, Leslie finds herself in areas devastated by wildfires or in humid, overgrown forests with uninviting guests like the spikey Devil’s Club and countless mosquitoes. But, regardless of the hurdles, the satisfaction she gets from this deeply meaningful job keeps her coming back.

Interestingly, another tree planter, Rita Leistner, once a war reporter during Iraq War II, mentioned that if anyone asked her what prepped her for war zones, she’d say, “Tree planting in Canada”. That’s the intensity and dedication this job demands!

Planting for a Greener Future

Thanks to reforestation requirements, 1.6 billion trees have found their home in western Canadian provinces. Eco-advocates such as Leslie Dart and Kenny Chaplin are actively contributing to substantial change, tree by tree.

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