This past Saturday, Communities in Bloom (CIB) planted another Installment of the Birth Forest located on the corner of Centennial Blvd and Thomas Drive. 

CIB has been planting trees in the community for many years. They started planting installments of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs in 2015 as part of the Birth Forest.

This is to honour all the babies that have been born within Strathmore in the past year as there are no children that are being born at the Strathmore District Health Services Hospital that is in town. 

Co-Chair of Communities in Bloom Jennifer Neufeld explains however that they have moved more away from it being a tree for every baby that was born in Strathmore because sometimes the trees that they plant don't survive and that is not the message that they want to portray to the community.

"So, we just plant 45 trees for all the babies that are born in Strathmore and the number remains the same every year. Regardless of how many actual babies are being born. So that there is not a correlation between a baby and if a tree is thriving or not." 

Neufeld says that they focus on planting food that can be of use to the whole community. They have planted things like different varieties of apple and cherry trees, and honeyberries, and they have planted Saskatoon trees in the past and pears. 

"We're trying to focus on what we know has been successful and planting more of that and anyone in the community can come out and pick from the trees. We're trying to promote food access for those that need it. So, it's not intended for people to come and harvest and sell." 

Communities in Bloom used to plant the trees in June right before the summer but started to notice that planting later has seen better results.

"We're just finding it was a little more successful, especially in the really, really dry years. There's less water having to be used to try to keep them alive over a hot summer. So, we decided that fall seems to be the perfect time to plant them." 

connectFirst Credit Union, Eagle Lake Nurseries and the Town of Strathmore are the organizations that sponsor the Birth Forest and the planting of the trees. 

"Eagle Lake gives us a substantial discount on the trees, connectFirst gives us a grant that helps us cover the cost of the trees and then the Town and their operations department are fantastic because they drill the holes for us and pre-water the plants. They also take on any kind of maintenance by making sure they are watered and cared for."

Neufeld explained that when they do this again next year and anyone is welcome to come down to help plant the trees next fall. This year there were 30 people planting trees, 12 were from the Communities in Bloom committee.  

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