Suncor plants five-millionth tree in northern Alberta
On Sept. 23, Suncor Energy celebrated planting its five-millionth tree at its oil sands site north of Fort McMurray. The event also marked the one-year anniversary of Wapisiw Lookout, the world’s first oil sands tailings pond to be revegetated and reclaimed. The tree planting ceremony featuring Ivy Wigmore, an Elder from the Mikisew Cree First Nation, was attended by Suncor executives and employees, politicians and local stakeholders. Wigmore planted one of the first trees on the Suncor site in the late 1960s. In 1967 when Suncor began commercial production, Wapisiw Lookout, known as Pond 1, was its first tailings pond. The site was decommissioned in 1997. For the next two decades, Suncor reclamation experts will assess soil, water and vegetation at Wapisiw Lookout to ensure the self-sustaining return of the ecosystem. This includes monitoring the growth of 630,000 shrubs planted last year. Wapisiw Lookout, covering an area of 220 hectares, will feature a mixed wood forest and small wetland that will support native plants and wildlife.