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U of G students create initiative to thank frontline workers

Installing one bench and one tree at hospitals across Canada
20160202 University of Guelph 02 KA
University of Guelph file photo. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday

It is a way University of Guelph students are thanking frontline workers while supporting their mental health. 

One Bench One Tree was developed by University of Guelph students in the Masters of Landscape Architecture program. 

The initiative is focused on installing one bench and one tree outside of hospitals across Canada to thank all frontline workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support their mental health. 

Allison Neuhauser, external communications coordinator for One Bench One Tree told 570 NEWS that organizers are always looking for donations through their website. 

"We're collecting funds from anyone who wishes to donate to our cause, and we are using the funds to purchase our benches and trees, so we can install them at the hospitals, and all of our excess funds will be going to the Canadian Mental Health Association." 

So far, organizers have installed two combos, the first at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto - where the first Canadian COVID-19 case was confirmed back in early 2020 - and the second installation taking place at Hamilton Health Sciences - St. Peter's Hospital. 

Each bench has a plaque with a poem dedicated to frontline workers; there is also a plaque at the bottom of each tree. 

The trees being installed are sugar maple trees - the national tree of Canada. "We are keeping the trees native to the country, or the area where the trees are going. In some areas the sugar maples won't do so well, so we will come up with an alternative, but we plan to keep them native to Canada," said Neuhauser. 

Neuhauser added that the bench and tree are spaced two metres apart illustrating the physical representations of social distancing. 

"I figured that was significant, and it's a big part of our design." 

For more information, or if you would like to donate, CLICK HERE

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