A 23-year-old tree planter from Quebec has set a new world record by planting 23,060 trees in 24 hours.
Antoine Moses from Gaspé says he can plant an average of 16 trees per minute – about one tree every 3.75 seconds. "Once I broke the initial record, I was happy and hugged the whole crew around me. I was excited and happy, but not 10 seconds after I moved on," Moses said. The pioneering feat, recognized by Guinness World Records, took place in a deforested neighborhood about 100 kilometers south of High River, Alberta.
Moses said it was a collaborative effort, with six pit crews helping to plant as many trees as six growers would plant in a day. "I thought, 'Okay, what's the next number I can get to, 19,000, 20,000, 21,000, and finally 23,000,'" Moses said. The veteran tree planter said he has planted forests of more than 1.3 million trees across Canada over the past seven years. As an amateur athlete who has run multiple marathons and is training for an upcoming triathlon, Moses said he views tree planting as a sport. "You have to take care of your health. It's almost like anyone who grows trees is an athlete," Moses said. "You just have to put everything aside and make sure you're healthy enough to grow more plants."
After planting for 14 hours and 51 minutes straight in a record day last summer, Moses has surpassed Kenny Chaplin's old record of 15,170 trees set in 2001. "Every generation needs a new hero, so it's time to break my record," Chaplin said. Along with his twin brother, Chaplin was a pioneer in tree planting, starting his career at 18 and still planting trees at 52.
The herculean task of reforestation has changed over the decades, Chaplin said. "It's not a sport where people just go out and plant for a few months. People don't think about their gear or anything like that," Chaplin said. A new generation is increasingly planting trees, he said, as many come here from eastern Canada to get hands-on and live a rugged Western lifestyle while reducing their carbon footprint. "Whether you plant pines or spruces, you are planting trees. Those trees will grow, and they will help solve this global problem."
Chaplin, a native of Saskatchewan, said he often visited the country where he broke records and reflected on his life growing out of his meaningful work. "It's really cool that I can stand there and go to your woods. These trees are 20 feet tall. They line up exactly the same way you put them, and you can go back to the day you planted them.
Both Moses and Chaplin said that while the work was grueling and sometimes exhausting, the experience in the natural setting of the mountainside was humbling and provided life-changing moments. "You look at life differently. You realize that your day-to-day work or school life is much easier. It gives you perspective on your life," Moses said. "If you can take it, you'll find yourself with a smile on your face and a bug in your nose and ears. But when you get comfortable with something that's uncomfortable, it changes you and makes you not only a better grower , and become a better person," Chaplin said.
Moses said he was delighted that his record had been broken and even offered to help the next tree planter who excelled. "I love the thrill of helping people. If someone wants to beat it, I'll help them, and I'll tell them my advice. I'm not afraid," Moses said. Meanwhile, young Quebecers are focusing on upcoming sports. "Glad I'm a Guinness World Record holder, but there's more than that in my life now." Approximately 6,500 tree planters plant nearly 600 million trees in Canada each year.
People sometimes need role models to motivate them to try new things or to show them that they are not alone and nothing is impossible. Using Antoine as an example, you can already see that many people are following his example and also planting new trees all over the world. The global society helps people all over the world to connect with each other and to achieve the common goals of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
More information: https://linktr.ee/antomos