Connect First Credit Union continued sponsor of Birth Forest

·5 min read

Communities in Bloom commissioned a painting from a local artist to give to Connect First Credit Union as a way to show their appreciation for the company’s support of the local birth forest.

“Basically what we’re doing today is thanking the Connect First Credit Union for 13 years of sponsorship of the Birth Forest,” said Communities in Bloom chair, Rob Pirie.

“What we did is we commissioned a painting, which would be housed inside the credit union to honour their commitment. Connect First has, for years, been our prime sponsor and so we just wanted to say ‘thank you.’”

The local birth forest was launched roughly 13 years ago, inspired by several similar projects in surrounding municipalities. Each year, approximately 45 trees are planted and parents can apply to have their child’s birth registered and recognized for that year within the birth forest, however a specific tree per registered child is not planted.

Parents who register their newborn as having been delivered in Strathmore and area receive a certificate noting that a tree has been planted, recognizing the birth of their child.

The forest in Strathmore averages 45 new trees per year, according to Pirie. In its inaugural year, 75 trees were planted.

“We’ve been talking about it in the sense of recognizing our sponsors,” said Pirie. “The Town of Strathmore is a major sponsor … they support us of course, they’re really key. But we want to say that the Credit Union has done a tremendous amount for us.”

Connect First Credit Union provides Communities in Bloom with over $1,000 per year, which covers the costs of planting and maintaining the birth forest.

Kari Carriere was the local artist commissioned for the painting. Pirie said she was chosen for the task after a committee member of Communities in Bloom suggested reaching out to her about the project.

A matching plaque is also in development to be hung within the Credit Union beside the painting.

Shawndra Bodkin, branch manager of Strathmore’s Connect First Credit Union, said she is a firm believer in the birth forest and will continue to support its growth in years to come.

“I’m proud to be part of it, even though I’m just right at the beginning of it, but I fully plan to continue with it for as long as I’m here and fully support the Birth Forest. And I’ve got the ‘okay’ from head office to continue with it,” she said.

“Connect First is all about community, they’re all about membership, they’re all about small towns and keeping it local.”

The commission was in the works for roughly six months prior to the presentation and involved the Town of Strathmore as well as Eagle Lake Nursery, which provides the trees for the forest.

“Basically what we’re doing today is thanking the Connect First Credit Union for 13 years of sponsorship of the Birth Forest,” said Communities in Bloom chair, Rob Pirie.

“What we did is we commissioned a painting, which would be housed inside the credit union to honour their commitment. Connect First has, for years, been our prime sponsor and so we just wanted to say ‘thank you.’”

The local birth forest was launched roughly 13 years ago, inspired by several similar projects in surrounding municipalities. Each year, approximately 45 trees are planted and parents can apply to have their child’s birth registered and recognized for that year within the birth forest, however a specific tree per registered child is not planted.

Parents who register their newborn as having been delivered in Strathmore and area receive a certificate noting that a tree has been planted, recognizing the birth of their child.

The forest in Strathmore averages 45 new trees per year, according to Pirie. In its inaugural year, 75 trees were planted.

“We’ve been talking about it in the sense of recognizing our sponsors,” said Pirie. “The Town of Strathmore is a major sponsor … they support us of course, they’re really key. But we want to say that the Credit Union has done a tremendous amount for us.”

Connect First Credit Union provides Communities in Bloom with over $1,000 per year, which covers the costs of planting and maintaining the birth forest.

Kari Carriere was the local artist commissioned for the painting. Pirie said she was chosen for the task after a committee member of Communities in Bloom suggested reaching out to her about the project.

A matching plaque is also in development to be hung within the Credit Union beside the painting.

Shawndra Bodkin, branch manager of Strathmore’s Connect First Credit Union, said she is a firm believer in the birth forest and will continue to support its growth in years to come.

“I’m proud to be part of it, even though I’m just right at the beginning of it, but I fully plan to continue with it for as long as I’m here and fully support the Birth Forest. And I’ve got the ‘okay’ from head office to continue with it,” she said.

“Connect First is all about community, they’re all about membership, they’re all about small towns and keeping it local.”

The commission was in the works for roughly six months prior to the presentation and involved the Town of Strathmore as well as Eagle Lake Nursery, which provides the trees for the forest.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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