This autumn was supposed to herald a noteworthy milestone for the Sudbury regreening project: the planting of its 10 millionth tree.
But with the arrival of the novel coronavirus last March came a scaled-down 2020 planting season, and instead that marker will be celebrated in 2021.
Still, as year 42 of the one-of-a-kind land restoration initiative comes to a close, the organization leading the project believes that some areas of the city are nearing the point when human intervention will no longer be necessary and nature can start taking over.
“Already there are certain sites in the Sudbury area, which, with further work, are likely to be declared complete,” said Peter Beckett, an ecology professor at Laurentian University and founding member of the Vegetation Technical Advisory Committee (VETAC), during a Sept. 25 virtual presentation.
To most Northerners, the story is by now a familiar one. Before government-enforced pollution mitigation measures were introduced in the 1970s, Sudbury was best known for its bare, blackened rocks, scarred by nearly a century of mining.