Trees Beyond Goderich

Rural Disaster Relief through Reforestation

Update – August 21, 2015

Today is the 4th anniversary of the tornado that blew through Goderich and the Huron County countryside.  The Trees Beyond Goderich project is still working on planting trees in the path of the tornado, and beyond.   To date, over 23,000 trees have been planted in about 90 acres!  This includes 37 acres in the path of the tornado, and 53 acres outside of the tornado-damaged area.

Funding is available, and we are looking for more tree planting projects!  Many of our projects have received full funding from a variety of sources including Trees Beyond Goderich, the Great Lakes Guardian Community FundHuron Clean Water Project, and Forests Ontario.   In the past three and a half years, we have raised just shy of $100,000.  Contact us today to inquire.   Call Rachel at 519-524-8394 x3286 or e-mail

Project Background

In 2011, an F3 tornado devastated 220 acres of woodlot in a twenty-kilometre rural corridor stretching from Goderich to Highway #4, north of Clinton. In many instances, the tornado traced the course of the Maitland River, severely damaging the fringing woodlots. The contiguous strip of natural habitat is of extreme ecological importance, and in the tornado many of the woodlots that buffered the river and provided essential habitat for wildlife were severely damaged.  The Emerald Ash Borer is also a serious threat, and has infested many areas in Huron County. This will jeopardize the survival of woodlots dominated by ash trees, which are common on the landscape.

The Huron Stewardship Council, in partnership with conservation agencies across the County, is responding to these threats by implementing ‘Trees Beyond Goderich’. Trees Beyond Goderich uses community volunteers to help conserve and enhance at-risk woodlots. We believe that if the community is actively involved in reforesting sensitive or damaged areas it will inspire a greater tree planting effort in Huron County.

By 2014, with the help of about 280 enthusiastic volunteers, we have  planted over 11,500 trees in 69 acres of tornado-damaged woodlots to date!  With funding assistance from grants and the generous support of local donors, we raised over $92,000 to facilitate these achievements.

We have been blown away by the enthusiasm of the community. Volunteers helped by planting trees, spreading mulch, watering newly planted trees (throughout a very dry summer), hammering tree stakes and pulling the invasive Garlic Mustard. We were fortunate to work with neighbours and friends of those affected by the tornado, local school groups, nature enthusiasts, and even a volunteer group with members from abroad (reTREEt America).

treble woodlot pictures 002

Students from local schools celebrate after planting over 1200 trees in a tornado-damaged woodlot.

With your support, we can continue with the success of this project for years to come!

If you would like to donate to the Trees Beyond Goderich project, cheques can be made out to the Huron Stewardship Council at:

Huron Stewardship Council
57 Napier Street, 2nd Floor
Goderich, Ontario
N7A 1W2


We have completed one year of field research, monitoring regeneration and restoration approaches to tornado woodlot restoration.   Our objectives were to study the viability of assisted migration of tree species from the Carolinian Zone beyond the historical northern limit by monitoring survival and tree health over time; and to determine the efficacy of tree shelter products (e.g. Tubex tree shelters) for preventing seedling/sapling deer browse in woodland plantings.  We have been able to complete this research with the support of the Canadian Tree Fund‘s Jack Kimmel Grant.  Click here to read a summary report on our first year of field research.

Trees Beyond Goderich News and Events

Click here for the Trees Beyond Goderich background document

Click here to learn about the tree planting event in fall 2012 called “Goderich reTREEt”

Click here for a news article about Trees Beyond Goderich (formerly Trees for Benmiller)

Project Objectives:

  • To conserve at-risk woodland areas that have been damaged by the tornado of 2011, or are susceptible to diseases or pests
  • Enhance riparian areas, improve water quality and wildlife habitat by planting trees along waterways, and retiring marginal farm land into trees
  • Create new strategies for woodland rehabilitation and enhancement, such as complementing natural regeneration in tornado-damaged areas with planted stock
  • Increase biodiversity and resilience in woodlands, fence rows and farmsteads through the introduction of diverse native tree species that are present but rare across the landscape
  • Inspire a greater woodlot conservation effort across Huron County