Since 2012, Domtar has partnered with SCA to support SCA’s youth conservation crews in cities across the United States, as well as local restoration projects in communities where Domtar employees live and work in the United States and Canada.
Recently, more than 70 volunteers gathered in Parc Thomas-Chapais, a community park and urban forest in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough of Montreal. Community organizations are working together to revitalize and restore the urban forest by removing invasive plants and collecting trash.
Guided by SCA leaders, Domtar employee volunteers and their families set out to cut back invasive buckthorn. The plant was originally brought to Canada as an ornamental shrub, but now has spread throughout Montreal’s forests, crowding out the iconic sugar maple and other native Canadian trees.
Some volunteers shoveled larger specimens out by the root, while the youngest participants pulled out small plants by hand. Volunteers from the Maria Luisa Foundation joined Domtar volunteers to complete the project.
“Domtar employees don’t just work in Montreal; some of us call Montreal our home. So giving back to the community is important,” said Heather Stowe, Domtar’s corporate social responsibility manager. “By partnering with the Student Conservation Association, we’re able to advance SCA’s mission of building the next generation of conservation leaders.”
By the end of the day, volunteers had eradicated 150 cubic meters (more than 16 truckloads) of buckthorn from the park’s urban forest, leaving room for new sugar maple seedlings and native wildflowers to grow in their place. In addition, they removed 68 pounds of trash from park trails and enjoyed an eco-friendly lunch with compostable utensils and packaging, ensuring that 13 pounds of organic matter and 12 pounds of recyclables stayed out of landfills.