You probably already know what LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) is. If you don't, they're the group greening this city one private patch at a time.
But it goes beyond things like teaching people why dwarf trees suck and big canopy trees rock (see my story on LEAF in this week's issue). Take tonight's (July 15) launch of Vincenzo Pietropaolo's Toronto Tree Portraits.
There's no physical planting of trees going on, but important groundwork tied to public education can take various forms.
"The goal is raising the stake of the urban forest and bringing it into the public consciousness," explains the LEAF event's organizer, Matthew Higginson. "This is a great example of a way we can do it."
Toronto Tree Portraits show us the trees we live with by including 16 notable locals in the curatorial process. They picked trees that have touched them in some way, then Pietropaolo took aim with his camera. LEAF deliberately cast their contributor net wide.
"They're not just treehuggers," says Higginson, listing off a wide spectrum of folks like Atom Egoyan, Adrienne Clarkson, Joe Pantalone, Maude Barlow, and Stars' Amy Millan.
"Amy's tree is a weeping willow right by Kensington Market. It's a beautiful tree, and it's rising through the adversity of bad pruning," explains Higginson.
He goes on point out that many of us may have a tree that sticks out in our daily routine. In Millan's case, she would pass that willow on the streetcar. It made a mark. Bringing our relationships with leafy structures out of the background is the goal, both in the exhibit and with the greater purpose behind LEAF's mandate.
What's more interesting is that the tree picks shots also incorporate a reflection component from the choosers - be it a note, poem or excerpt.
If you can't make tonight's launch - where Pietropaolo will speak about the process he used in selecting the trees to shoot - the exhibit runs until August 12. Funds from sales of artwork go towards LEAFs ongoing planting, education and training initiatives.[rssbreak]