Tag Archives: urban forests

The Maple Leaf Forever Tree and Us

Every morning, trees tell us about the coming day, as their branches catch a gust of wind or cast a shadow off the rising sun. They mark each new season too, offering hopeful buds in Spring and gold-tinged leaves in Autumn. And they link us to generations past and future. Thirty years from now, our grandchildren could enjoy the shade of our favorite oak tree.

Trees connect us to our surroundings and to one another.

This concept serves as a driving force behind our work at Curb Allure.  Today on our fourth anniversary, we cannot think of a better way to celebrate than to share the story of Toronto (hometown of founder Kim Johnson) and its very special Maple Leaf Forever tree.

John McPherson, The House of A. Muir after a Shower in Toronto, 1907. (Toronto Public Library): Maple Leaf Forever lives on

John McPherson, The House of A. Muir after a Shower in Toronto, 1907. (Toronto Public Library)

This giant maple on Laing Street was said to inspire Alexander Muir to write “Maple Leaf Forever” , the beloved unofficial national anthem and poem of Canada. According to the Toronto Public Library, Muir came up with the song when he was strolling by the tree in front of his house in 1867 and a maple leaf fell on his shoulder.    For nearly 150 years, the Maple Leaf Forever tree stood as a testimony to Canada’s pride in both its national identity and profound natural beauty. Then, last July, a fierce storm knocked over the giant tree, devastating Canadians throughout the world.

(Steve Russell/Toronto Star): Maple Leaf Forever lives on : Protect it

(Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

Determined to keep the Maple Leaf Forever alive, last month, the City of Toronto milled logs from the fallen tree and distributed them to 150 local artists, as reported in the Toronto Star. Many of the projects will be displayed publically throughout the city, including 30 wig stands to be donated to cancer patients.  While certainly the most noteworthy, the Maple Leaf Forever is just one of many fallen trees that Toronto has repurposed through an ongoing project. Here is their directory of Urban Wood Products and Services: www.toronto.ca/urbanwooddirectory.

Michael Finkelstein made these beautiful nesting bowls out of Maple Leaf Forever wood. http://michaelfinkelsteinwoodturner.com/inthenews.html

Michael Finkelstein made these beautiful nesting bowls out of Maple Leaf Forever wood.

Art isn’t the only way the Maple Leaf Forever lives on. In 2000, engineer Bill Wrigley took maple keys from the original tree and planted them in his backyard, according to the Toronto Star. One sapling survived. Seven years later, Wrigley received permission to move the sapling to the Maple Leaf Forever Park, right near its “Mama Tree.” And, today, visitors can find comfort in seeing the historic tree’s “Baby”.

Curb Allure is deeply honored that the City of Toronto has asked to use one of our tree guards –with two different custom-designed panels—to protect the offspring of the Maple Leaf Forever tree. Keep an eye out for images of this special guard, which we will happily share following the dedication ceremony in late May.

Thanks to the ingenuity and passion of these Torontonians, the legacy of the Maple Leaf Forever continues.  Living trees require similar dedication from their community. If we want our neighborhood trees to welcome the next generation, it is up to us to protect them. And, as the Maple Leaf Forever and The City of Toronto have taught us, trees are well worth the trouble.



Holiday Gifts That Grow (Literally) & Support Urban Forest Protection

urban forest protection by donating to NYC urban forest organizations


Urban Forest Protection Donations

The holidays are a time for giving. So, if you’re strapped for ideas on those last minute gifts, consider donating to a cause that matters to your loved ones and supports urban forest protection.

At Curb Allure, we have dedicated ourselves to the belief that trees and gardens are the lungs (and souls) of our communities. If this resonates with you or someone you love, here’s a list of wonderful organizations that could use your donations for urban forest protection. We know first-hand that each of these groups make a real difference, namely in our hometown New York City. 


In 1976, New York City faced severe spending cuts to all forestry and tree-related community service. In response, concerned citizens launched TreesNY, which has since developed an impressive list of urban forest protection programs to fulfill its mission “to plant, preserve and protect New York City’s urban forest through education, active citizen participation and advocacy.”  Programs include Citizen Pruner Tree Care Course, Greening the Bronx Reforestation Project, and Youth Environmental Literacy. Its most recent program, FruiTreesNY, has begun planting orchards throughout the five boroughs. Visit website: www.treesny.org  

New York Restoration Project

Founded by famed entertainer Bette Midler, the New York Restoration Project has been “transforming open space in underserved communities to create a greener sustainable NYC” since 1995. NYRP offers a wide-range of programs, such as Hurricane Sandy outreach, Gardens for the City, and environmental education in NYC public school. Today, NYRP is perhaps best known for joining forces with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration to launch Million Trees NYC, whose goal is to plant one million trees across the five boroughs by 2017. So far, this tremendously popular initiative has put over 800,000 trees in the ground. Visit website: www.nyrp.org

City Parks Foundation

Have you ever enjoyed a SummerStage performance in Central Park? Then you’ve already benefitted from the services of City Parks Foundation, created to “provide free and accessible arts, sports, education and community-building programs within NYC parks.”  Aside from super-fun activities like performances, free tennis lessons and youth summer programs, City Parks also fosters environmental outreach by hosting the annual conference Partnership for Parks for community groups and It’s My Park Day volunteer events. Visit website: www.cityparksfoundation.org

Alliance for Community Trees (AC Trees)

The only national organization on our list, Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees) is “a vibrant network of over 200 nonprofits and agencies that promote the environmental, economic, public health, and social benefits of trees and urban forests.” Not only is AC Trees responsible for planting 15 million trees with 5 million volunteers, but it also provides grants and awards to members; raises awareness about trees and urban forests through its National NeighborWoods® Month   in October; and advocates for policies that protect and sustain trees and urban forests for the benefit of people and communities. Visit website: www.actrees.org

Based on our experience, donors cannot go wrong with any of these nonprofits to support urban forest protection. However, we are curious about who’s making an impact in your community. What’s your favorite tree, garden or parks organization? We’d love to hear. Happy Holidays.


The Art of Curbing

There are a million way to kindly tell people: “Keep your dog away from my tree!”  Here are some of New York City’s finest Curb Your Dog signs:

Simple and kind curb your dog signs is a great way to go

Simple & kind is a great option for a curb your pet sign…







Or a goofy dog inside a flower curb your dog sign, as shown on Bleeker Street.

Or a goofy dog inside a flower curb your dog sign, as shown on Bleeker Street.

Curb your dog signs NYC

Flattery will get you everywhere.







An abundance of flowers make for a natural deterrent to protect urban trees

An abundance of flowers surrounding the urban tree & tree guard make for a natural deterrent.


Curb your Dog Signs do not need to be fancy.

Curb Your Dog Signs do not need to be fancy.




Sometimes simple hand-made Curb your pets tree guard notes have the greatest impact. "Out of the mouths of babes!"

Sometimes simple hand-made notes have the greatest impact. “Out of the mouths of babes!”

And, of course, there’s always Curb Allure’s classic tree guard Curb Your Dog Signs!

And, of course, there’s always Curb Allure’s classic tree guard Curb Your Dog sign!







It really doesn’t matter how you show your urban tree love and protect city street trees. Just get the word out: “Please Curb Your Dogs!”