Ontario Government Helps Cities Plant Trees To Fight Climate Change

Archived Release

Ontario Government Helps Cities Plant Trees To Fight Climate Change

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Cleaner Air And Water, Energy Conservation Among Benefits LONDON, ON, Aug. 22 - The planting of native trees in urban areas means cleaner, healthier cities that are fighting the effects of climate change, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced today. "Trees clean the air and water, provide shade and wind protection, supply habitat for birds and wildlife and make our cities beautiful," said Ramsay. "Supporting tree planting on publicly accessible land will expand our urban forests and reduce the effects of climate change on Ontario's cities." The province is investing $1 million over two years in a partnership with Evergreen, a national non-profit environmental organization that works with people to create and sustain healthy, natural outdoor spaces in cities. The province-wide program will support the planting of 100,000 trees in urban areas such as parklands, conservation areas, publicly accessible corporate lands and industrial parks, university campuses, hospital grounds, road allowances, boulevards and medians. Evergreen will grant funds to groups for the purchase of trees native to Ontario, facilitate tree plantings, and provide education and outreach to involve community volunteers and citizens in tree planting. As well, the program will work with existing provincial partners involved in tree planting and environmental initiatives such as stewardship councils for advice and support. "Evergreen works with hundreds of communities and schools across Ontario to bring nature back to our cities," says Geoff Cape, executive director, Evergreen. "Evergreen focuses on educating people through direct participation: by planting a tree, individuals can see they are making a difference, which leads them to other ways they can improve their local environment. It's a sustainable model with long-term impact, which is why Evergreen is delighted to partner with the Province of Ontario to address climate change through individual and community action." Proposals to Evergreen for grants will be required to demonstrate: - Good matching of tree species to the site, good care of trees after planting, and regular monitoring of planting sites - Significant numbers of native trees planted - Engagement of the community in tree planting, and - For tree planting around buildings, a focus on improving energy conservation, where feasible, through the placement of trees and choice of species to provide shade in summer and sun penetration in winter. Contact Info "The planting of urban trees is one more important element in our government's overall plan to fight climate change," said Environment Minister Laurel Broten. "Urban trees capture carbon, improve air quality and help prevent cities from becoming heat islands. It's a simple, natural strategy, yet it benefits us in so many ways over the long term." This is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians are achieving results in ensuring a healthier natural environment and mitigating the effects of climate change. Other initiatives include: - Planting 50 million trees in southern Ontario by 2020 - Making $220 million in loans and grants available to help municipalities reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving and retrofitting buildings - Setting ambitious but realistic targets to reduce greenhouse gases below 1990 levels - six per cent by 2014, 15 per cent by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050. Disponible en français ontario.ca/mnr Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE: URBAN TREE PLANTING PROGRAM The Ontario government is committed to fighting climate change and greening the province. While 80 per cent of Ontarians live in urban areas, our urban forests are under increasing stress from expanding development, climate change and air pollution. Planting more native trees in Ontario cities will improve air and water quality, increase energy conservation, provide habitat for birds and wildlife, and moderate the urban climate and the stress of urban life. The program will encourage people to plant trees in cities across the province. It will foster a healthier environment while building awareness of the important benefits that trees and the urban forest bring to our daily lives among individuals, families, school groups and community organizations. The Urban Tree Planting Program Tree Planting ------------- - Over a two-year period - 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 - the Ministry of Natural Resources will invest $1 million and partner with the organization Evergreen to enable 100,000 trees to be planted in Ontario's urban green spaces. - Evergreen is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization whose mission is to bring people and nature together for the benefit of both. Evergreen has distributed nearly $2.5 million in direct grants, in addition to expert assistance, to help transform over 2,800 school grounds and public spaces across Canada. - Tree planting activities will be done on parklands, school grounds, conservation areas, corporate lands and industrial parks with public access, university campuses, hospital grounds, rooftops and road allowances, boulevards and medians. - Groups will be invited to submit proposals to Evergreen for funding to buy native trees. The trees will be about one metre tall to help ensure their survival in urban conditions. - Proposals will be assessed using four main criteria: - commitment to good site-selection, post-planting care and site monitoring - number of native trees planted - level of community engagement, and - improving energy conservation, where feasible, through tree planting activities around buildings that provide shade in the summer and sun in the winter. - All planting plans must be reviewed by a qualified forester, landscape architect or equivalent professional. - The program will engage the province's existing partners, such as the Trees Ontario Foundation, and tie into existing provincial initiatives including stewardship councils and the Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program grants. Evergreen will work with partners to identify suitable native species and to find appropriate sites for urban planting. - The program is designed to involve people of all ages and backgrounds in planting a tree native to their part of the province. Education and Outreach ---------------------- - Evergreen will host up to 50 workshops over the two-year period, to build the capacity of environmental stewardship groups, social service agencies, schools and others to plan, implement and steward successful community naturalization projects. - Evergreen will support a province-wide media campaign to raise awareness and encourage broad participation. Contact: Stuart Mallany Regional Strategic Development 705-755-3205 Disponible en français ontario.ca/mnr For further information: Media Calls Only, Anne-Marie Flanagan, Minister's Office, (416) 327-0654; Jolanta Kowalski, Communications Services Branch, (416) 314-2106 HELP | CONTACT US | PRIVACY | IMPORTANT NOTICES © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008-2009 — Last Modified: February 15, 2009 For further information: Media Calls Only, Anne-Marie Flanagan, Minister's Office, (416) 327-0654; Jolanta Kowalski, Communications Services Branch, (416) 314-2106