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College students participate in the reforestation of the Lambert Peatlands

Under a radiant sun and a rare windless day in the plain of Rivière-Ouelle, a hundred students from the Collège de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière contributed to the planting of trees on the land of the Tourbières Lambert, on May 10 and 11. The objective was to equip certain land with windbreak hedges or to endow some of it with widened riparian strips.

Nearly 3000 trees over almost 8 km, in different places. The task was phenomenal, but the workforce more than motivated. Under the impetus of the Action pour le monde group, a hundred students from the Collège de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière were recruited to carry out this social reforestation activity under the supervision of the Arbre-Évolution cooperative.

In small groups of 20 to 25, each present for half a day, they took turns planting deciduous trees, conifers and shrubs, as many species which when they have reached full maturity in the fields of Lambert peat bogs will prevent soil erosion by wind, in addition to limiting the input of sediments laden with nitrogen, phosphorus or pesticides into waterways.

“We are very happy to have succeeded in mobilizing so many students. In a few years we will watch these trees grow and we will be able to say that we planted them. It also gives the students the opportunity to work the land, which many do not have the opportunity to do regularly”, mentioned Marine Caillouette, Secondary 5 student, on behalf of the four other young girls who are members of the Action pour le world.

Since it was born within the walls of the College, this small group has accumulated positive actions with concrete repercussions: Christmas cards for seniors, waste sorting project in the cafeteria or reopening of the school second-hand clothes store, to name only those. Informed of the existence of Arbre-Évolution by the parent of one of the members of the group, they came into contact themselves with the cooperative in order to offer their services for a social reforestation project. The timing couldn’t be better, with Tourbières Lambert being on the radar screen of the short-term cooperative and close to the College.

“One of Arbre-Évolution’s best-known missions is social reforestation. You couldn’t refuse an offer like that. We told them we needed a hundred people. They left with that, they obtained the necessary authorizations from the management and the teachers and they managed to recruit all these young people in just a few days, ”adds Marie-Christine Lee, project manager at Arbre-Évolution.

Long before the Action pour le monde group came into play, Arbre-Évolution had been asked by the Agricultural Advisory Group (GCA) of the Côte-du-Sud to carry out this plantation at the Tourbières Lambert. The organization is leading a project headed by MAPAQ which aims to look at the farming practices of farmers in the Ouelle River basin, such as tillage, winter soil cover, the quality of riparian strips or any other initiatives aimed at preventing sedimentation of nearby waterways by soil erosion.

According to Amélie Martin, agro-environmental advisor at GCA Côte-du-Sud and responsible for the development plan, several other agricultural producers are actively participating in the project, but the deployment experienced at the Tourbières Lambert is particularly strong due to the number of trees and shrubs planted. , but also the distance covered. The investment, $50,000 in total, with a portion funded by MAPAQ, also strikes the imagination.

“Tourbières Lambert has really shown a lot of openness for the project. The beauty of the thing is that there have already been many similar plantations carried out in Rivière-Ouelle in the past which allow us today to clearly envisage what it will look like on the site in 20-25 years. “, she adds.

More than simple riparian strips or windbreak hedges, the planting at Tourbières Lambert is part of another project, that of wildlife corridors led by the watershed organization OBAKIR in Kamouraska. When the trees and shrubs have reached full maturity, they promise to provide great ecological services in the opinion of Antoine Plourde-Rouleau, project manager at OBAKIR.

On the one hand, these trees and shrubs will help restore a form of habitat for country birds, whose populations are in freefall in Quebec and elsewhere in the world, even though they are good allies for farmers because of their ability to feed on crop-damaging insects. On the other hand, they will be an ideal refuge for pollinating insects, whose migration does not exceed 100 or 200 m, but which are rare when the fields as far as the eye can see are virgin and devoid of vegetation.

“Working on ecological connectivity between plots is good, but also promoting connectivity within the same plot is just as important. This is why we are joining forces with the GCA Côte-du-Sud for our project, because it is the same kind of development that we are trying to achieve and our objectives, although different, ultimately seek to improve the same environment. »

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