Skip to main content

New website tracks trees handed out to Grade 1 students

For decades, Grade 1 students in Alberta have been given a tree to plant. Now a new initiative is underway to track those trees.

Teacher and heritage tree researcher Dustin Bajer, and Grade 9 student and tree-enthusiast Josh Kirsch teamed up to create the Alberta Grade 1 Tree Project.

“We soon remembered that this province has 60 years of handing out trees to Grade 1 students,” said Bajer.

“We decided to create the Alberta Grade 1 Tree Project and see if we can track down those stories and map those locations and get some photos. Find our big trees, find our old trees, our quirky trees.”

So far more than 500 people have registered their trees. While the majority of trees registered were planted in Alberta, some of them ended up in other provinces or the United States.

One of the trees even made it across the Atlantic Ocean.

“I thought it would be pretty unique to say I planted my sapling in Portugal,” Daniel Ferreira told CTV News Edmonton.

Ferreira’s grandmother planted the tree in a pot in her yard.

“Because we lived in Canada, it was almost something for my grandma to remember us by when we leave,” he said.

He’s not the only one with fond memories of the project.

“We just said if you got something, you have to look after it, and they did,” Cathy Bablitz said.

Her children planted two of the trees in the 60s.

“They raised them, they watered them and nurtured them, and they still have them.”

“We realized early on that people have a relationship or connection with that Grade 1 tree,” Bajer said.

You can register your tree on the Alberta Grade 1 Tree Project site.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nahreman Issa. Top Stories

Stay Connected