Scoutrees Crest 2018Help Scouts Plant Trees

Each spring since 1972, thousands of Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts, Venturer Scouts and Rover Scouts have planted trees through the Scoutrees Program.  Scoutrees gives all members the opportunity to demonstrate, through action, their concern for the environment. By planting trees, youth learn about the important role trees have in our lives, the critical need for conservation, the huge impact of climate change and how we can do our part to create a better world.

One small tree was planted by Scouts in 1972. Look at our forest now…we’ve planted over 80 million trees across the country! Few non-government agencies can boast this kind of record.

Scouting members plant trees in conservation areas, provincial parks, on crown-lands, and at Scout Camps. Through Scoutrees the youth learn the important role trees play in helping the environment. Trees are planted as windbreaks to help reduce soil erosion from wind and rain, they provide wildlife habitat for birds and other animals, and also beautify our parks and provide shade during warm summer days.

Scoutrees FAQ

How can youth get involved in planning a Scoutrees event?

Scoutrees should be considered an optional part of the Canadian Path program, but Sections should have it in mind when planning their spring adventures. A balanced program includes adventures for all of the Program Areas, and Scoutrees is a great Citizenship (or Environment & Outdoors) activity.

Scouters should allow senior youth (such as Venturer Scouts) to take the lead planning a Scoutrees event for their Group. Youth should be empowered to navigate all of the elements of this project, including identifying a planting site, sourcing trees and providing refreshments. Of course, Scouters should be prepared to offer advice, encouragement and support as necessary. Check out the Scoutrees Trail Card for more information.

What if youth don’t want to participate in Scoutrees?

The Canadian Path is a youth-led program. Scoutrees should be considered an optional part of The Canadian Path program, but Sections should have it in mind when planning their spring adventures. Whether or not a Section takes part in Scoutrees is up to the youth. A balanced program includes adventures for all of the Program Areas, and Scoutrees is a great Citizenship (or Environment & Outdoors) activity.

However, there are many other worthwhile environmental service projects (such as a shoreline cleanup) that Sections can consider in place of or in addition to a Scoutrees planting event. Scouters should do their best to ensure their Sections’ programs are both youth-led and balanced.

Can we take part in Scoutrees without fundraising?

Absolutely! The Scoutrees program should never be a financial burden, so Groups are encouraged to fundraise in support of expenses related to participation in the program. If, however, a Group has an opportunity to plant trees with the help of a landowner or partner who will cover the expenses relating to Scoutrees, then there is no need to spend any time fundraising.

How does Scoutrees relate to Scout Popcorn?

Both Scoutrees and Scout Popcorn are considered official Scouts Canada fundraisers. All Groups are encouraged to participate in both of these activities. While the Scout Popcorn campaign is exclusively a fundraiser, Scoutrees should be regarded first and foremost as an environmental service project; money raised in the name of Scoutrees should be used to cover the purchase of trees and any other related expenses. If Groups raise more money than is needed to cover the expenses relating to planting trees (and this is more often than not the case), then Groups should can use that money to support other great, safe Scouting adventures.

How does Scoutrees relate to the World Brotherhood Fund?

In the past, a portion of funds raised in the name of Scoutrees was contributed to the World Brotherhood Fund. Beginning in 2019, Groups will retain 100% of funds raised to support their Scoutrees planting events and other Scouting adventures. Scouts Canada will continue to operate the World Brotherhood Fund in support of international service projects.

Can we ask for donations in support of Scoutrees from local businesses?

Yes, donations in support of Scoutrees are welcome from businesses as well as individuals.

How do Groups get tax receipts for donations over $20?

CRA regulations require that all pledges requiring tax receipts be processed through a Scouts Canada Service Centre. Please submit the total qualifying donations (payable to Scouts Canada), a computer-generated list of donors and the amounts of their donations (over $20) to your Scouts Canada Service Centre following your fundraising. In addition, please include copies of those cheques that qualify for tax receipts. If the donation was made by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT), then a copy of the bank statement or donor letter (on official letterhead) must be included as evidence of the donation’s origin. Tax receipts cannot be issued if Scouts Canada does not have the funds in hand, but 100% of funds raised will be returned to your Group along with tax receipts. Charitable tax receipts are processed monthly by Scouts Canada Service Centres.

Please contact your Service Centre if you have any questions.

Is there a minimum number of trees we should plant?

The number of trees you plant will depend on a few factors, including the number of participants, the age of participants, the size of the trees, the size of the planting site and the terrain. A Scoutrees planting event should only last a couple of hours; asking youth to plant trees for any longer will discourage them from taking part again next year. If dozens of Scouting youth replant a feral farm field with thousands of saplings, that should be considered a successful Scoutrees event. Likewise, if six Scouts plant six mature (and expensive) trees to shade a playground in the near future, that should also be considered a successful Scoutrees event.

Where can we do a planting event?

There are no restrictions on where trees can be planted in the name of Scoutrees. While many Groups and Areas work with local municipalities to identify community parks that can benefit from having trees planted, it is also perfectly acceptable to plant on private land. Trees can benefit the environment just about anywhere they’re planted, and the social benefits of trees are not limited to public land.

How do we find a site for our planting event?

Finding a site for planting trees shouldn’t be difficult, especially if your Group gives itself plenty of time (months, ideally) to figure it out. In keeping with the Youth-led element of The Canadian Path, Scouters should invite senior youth to brainstorm possible planting sites and reach out to the landowners or managers. This will often mean contacting the parks service of your local municipal government. Other possible places to plant include schoolyards, Scout camps, provincial parks and farms.

Where do we get trees?

Expect to pay for saplings (or more mature trees) from the funds your Group collects in the name of Scoutrees. Trees can be purchased from local greenhouses (like The Greenhouse Academy in Thorndale, Ontario). If planting on private land, the landowner can be expected to supply the trees. Free trees may be available in some communities, depending on circumstances; for example, SaskPower offers free seedlings to not-for-profit agencies and service clubs in Saskatchewan (some restrictions apply).

How much do trees cost?

There are a number of variables that determine the price of a tree, including the tree’s maturity at time of purchase, the species, the number of trees ordered and the supplier. Most Groups taking part in Scoutrees plant relatively inexpensive saplings (ideally native species from locally sourced seeds). The Ferguson Tree Nursery (in Kemptville, Ontario) offers an online catalogue of its stock and prices that can give your Group a sense of how much it can expect to pay for its trees.

If planting on private land, the landowner can be expected to supply the trees. Free trees may be available in some communities, depending on circumstances; for example, SaskPower offers free seedlings to not-for-profit agencies and service clubs in Saskatchewan (some restrictions apply).

What kind of trees should we plant?

Most Groups taking part in Scoutrees plant relatively inexpensive saplings—ideally native species from locally sourced seeds. In some circumstances, it may be appropriate to plant more mature trees—especially when planting in small sites that don’t call for many trees. Different species of tree will fare better in different conditions; if you have questions about what trees might do best in your planting area, consult a local tree expert.

What is the best time of year to plant?

Most Groups taking part in Scoutrees plant in the spring, which is ideal. Trees can be planted as soon as the snow has melted and ground has thawed, though it is best to wait until temperatures are consistently above freezing overnight. Trees should be planted before a drought is likely; this will depend on your part of the country.  Late summer and early fall can offer planting conditions every bit as favourable as those found in the spring. For a more specific sense of the planting season in your area, consult a local tree expert.

What (if any) care do trees need after they’re planted?

Trees are hardy plants, and it is entirely possible that the trees you plant in the name of Scoutrees will thrive with no help at all. However, there are many threats to trees’ survival—especially when young trees are still getting established. It can be a good idea to visit your trees once or twice annually in their first few years to thin out fast-growing competing plants. In dry conditions, it is a good idea to visit the trees your Group has planted to water them (as often as daily), particularly if a drought occurs within a month of your planting event. Mulch can also help to protect trees from drought, and will fertilize trees over time. Signage can make people aware of newly planted saplings and keep them from getting trampled, and can also serve to promote your Group in your community. For further advice on how to care for the trees you’ve planted, consult a local tree expert.

Why do you want us to report on our planting events?

Scouts Canada can best support the Scoutrees program if the organization has useful data. Identifying Groups and Areas with successful Scoutrees planting events and campaigns will help us to share keys to success and inspire other Groups and Areas to take part in this worthwhile environmental service project.

Why won’t 2019 Scoutrees crests be free?

In order to make it easier for Groups to get Scoutrees crests, they will be available through the Scout Shop beginning in 2019. The Scout Shop has the expertise to effectively serve Scouts Canada’s members both in person and online. The price attached to Scoutrees crests will contribute to the Scout Shop’s ability to provide this service. However, purchasing Scoutrees crests will be strictly optional, and Groups will retain 100% of funds raised in the name of Scoutrees. Scoutrees crests are simply a souvenir of participation in Scoutrees.

How much will 2019 Scoutrees crests cost?

The final price of 2019 Scoutrees crests is to be determined. At this point in time, Scouts Canada expects to offer 2019 Scoutrees crests at $1.99 each.

How do we get crests if we don’t live near a Scout Shop?

Crests can be ordered online from Scoutshop.ca.

How much does shipping cost for online orders of Scoutrees crests?

Shipping of Scoutrees crests costs a minimum of $1.50; the price ultimately depends on the size of the order.