WINDSOR, ONT. -- Nearly 20,000 trees have been planted, seven wetlands created and more than 84 acres of habitat restored in Chatham-Kent so far this year .

Representatives of the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) and the municipality toured a new wetland surrounded by tree planting on a 2.5-acre property Tuesday.

The project, one of the first of the $1 million Ridge Landfill Community Trust initiative, was designed to show the positive effects of more tree coverage in the region.

“I first got interested in Carolinian trees about 12 years ago and after reading up on them, wanted to plant a Carolinian woodlot on my property,” said Violet Shadd, owner of the property. “In 2009 with the help of Trees Ontario I planted just over 2,000 trees, all Carolinian species, on five acres of land.  Since then I have been adding trees, shrubs, and later planted a tall grass prairie area next to the woodlot.”

Last November the LTVCA and municipality announced a partnership with the financial support of the Ridge Landfill Community Trust and facilitated by Waste Connections of Canada to allow for forest cover, wetland and grassland creation in South-Kent.

A news release from the municipality says there has been nearly 20,000 trees planted on more than 33 acres this year. There have also been seven wetlands created on 12 acres and 14 prairies on 38 acres for more than 84 acres of resorted habitat.

“The trees planted along with new wetland and grassland habitat will help combat climate change, build much-needed wildlife corridors – reducing habitat fragmentation – control dangerous soil erosion and create a more productive, healthier eco-system,” the release states.

The Ridge Landfill Community Trust has funded several million dollars for community, educational and charitable works over the years in South Kent.

“I am very thankful to the Ridge Landfill Trust, area councillors, and Board Members for this generous donation, which will leave a legacy of great habitat projects in the South Kent region,” said Randall Van Wagner, LTVCA manager of conservation lands and services.

“Credit should also be given to the landowner Violet Shadd for taking the initiative and implementing a project that will provide many ecological benefits to our community.”