Soccer giving back by growing forward

Pictured before digging in to the tree planting (l-r) are: Seaway District High School principal Trent Carter-Edwards, Seaway Students Zoe Jamieson and John Belmont, South Dundas Soccer referee-in-chief and Seaway alumnus Theo Blancher, South Dundas Soccer president Phillip Blancher and arbourist Jake Blais. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

IROQUOIS – Teamwork was the order of the day last Wednesday when South Dundas Soccer and Seaway District High School representatives gathered at the soccer fields located at the SDHS track interior to plant $2,500 worth of sugar maple trees.

The funds for the trees were donated by the previous South Dundas Soccer board of directors headed up Helen Tupper and Cindy Ault-Peters who 10 years ago wanted to give back to the school in a lasting way to commemorate their time with the organization.

Current South Dundas Soccer Association president Phillip Blancher explained that while the donation was made 10 years ago administrative changes, labour disputes and then a pandemic all delayed the actual realization of the tree planting project until now.

“It’s taken a while to get these in the ground, but will be worth the wait. The donation really is for the whole community to enjoy,” said Blancher.

Seaway District High School principal Trent Carter-Edward said that the selection of sugar maples was part of long term planning with a view to giving students the opportunity to learn about maples which at maturity can be tapped. “Not only will they provide a learning opportunity, but they will grow to provide shade for the students and the soccer players,” he said. “We’re excited to be breaking ground today to get this project started.”

The Municipality of South Dundas is donating mulch for the tree bases and arbourist Jake Blais of Blais Tree Maintenance provided his expertise helping with the initial planting.

Blancher concluded: “It’s taken 10 years. We hope that our next community partnership project will take less than that. We’re working on details for our next project now with the hope of providing more shaded areas to this well-used public space for years to come.”

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