First National Tree Day

Inaugural event brings Canadians together in cities across the nation

OTTAWA, Sept. 21, 2011 /CNW/ - Today Canadians from coast to coast to coast came together for the inaugural National Tree Day to celebrate the great benefit trees provide - clean air, wildlife habitat, reduced energy demand and a connection with nature.

"Canada's first ever National Tree Day represents a historic milestone. It demonstrates Canadians' commitment to improving our environment," said Dorothy Dobbie, Tree Canada Chair, and former Member of Parliament.  "It's a day of awareness to reflect on how protecting trees ensures a better quality of life for all Canadians."

Today, a seeding will be planted at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa on behalf of all Canadians by Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament, Tree Canada and representatives from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, MAJESTA and TELUS.

"The federal government is proud to help celebrate Canada's first National Tree Day," said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. "Forests are not only an important part of our heritage, they are also essential to our future. Every tree planted today helps preserve our forests for future generations. For this reason, the Government of Canada is making strategic investments to support the renewal of the forest sector and to create new opportunities for hundreds of forest communities across Canada."

National Tree Day was created through a private Members' motion in the House of Commons brought forward by Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans.

"By creating National Tree Day, the House has asked Canadians to spend just one day reflecting on the link between their lives and that of the tree," said Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament.  "Canadians will dedicate trees, plant trees, learn about trees and appreciate the impact the tree has had on Canada's economic success as a nation."

Trees have a way of bringing people together to celebrate a shared heritage. With over 80% of Canadians living in cities and towns, our urban forests are vital to our quality of life, and this recognition will go a long way toward ensuring that they continue to be planted and cared for in urban locations.

"Canada is a global leader in sustainable forest management.  From the maple leaf to the mighty pines, trees are synonymous with our Canadian identity.  For every tree that is planted today, we are preserving our future for tomorrow," said the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment.  "We are proud to recognize Tree Canada, a not-for-profit, charitable organization and its partners, who are working together to engage Canadians through educating them about the benefits of sustainable urban tree management."

Canadians are encouraged to participate in National Tree Day in any way they can.  A National Tree Day celebration can be neighbours gathering to plant trees in a park or at a nearby school, a class project or a large community event.  For every person who stops and thinks about how they can help grow and maintain trees, Canada becomes a cleaner, better country.

In support of National Tree Day, Tree Canada and key sponsors, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, MAJESTA, and TELUS, will celebrate with tree planting and educational events in St. John's, Charlottetown, Fredericton, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Victoria, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Ottawa. The majority of sites are members of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada, a national network formed in 2003.

"The Canadian Museum of Nature and other natural history museums are important destinations for Canadians seeking information about nature and the environment," says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature. "As such, we were pleased to work with Tree Canada and its partners to ensure the success of this first National Tree Day."

For information on how to organize a National Tree Day event, how to successfully plant and maintain urban trees, or to learn more about the importance of trees in any community, additional information can be found at www.nationaltreeday.ca.

Backgrounder

About National Tree Day

National Tree Day provides an opportunity for Canadians to learn about the importance of trees in urban environments and gain the tools to help grow and maintain these important ecological areas.

National Tree Day was created through a private members motion in the House of Commons. The motion to declare National Tree Day was presented by Royal Galipeau, M.P. Ottawa-Orléans, at the urging of Tree Canada, and received consent from the House of Commons on March 2, 2011.

As a result of these efforts, Wednesday of National Forest Week in September each year now will be known as National Tree Day.

National Tree Day is important for Canadians

  • Over 80% of Canadians live in urban areas
  • Trees reduce residential heating costs by 10-15% (through windbreak)
  • Each healthy tree can reduce air borne dust particles by as much as 7,000 particles per litre of air, thus a healthy tree is a free standing air conditioner and purifier
  • The Canadian forest products industry is an environmental steward, responsible for more than 600,000 jobs with annual revenues representing roughly 2 percent of our GDP.

National Tree Day is made possible through the hard work of Tree Canada and key sponsors, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, MAJESTA and TELUS.

About Tree Canada
Tree Canada is a not-for-profit charitable organization established to encourage Canadians to plant and care for trees in urban and rural environments. A winner of the Canadian Environmental Award (2007), Tree Canada engages Canadian companies, government agencies and individuals to support the planting of trees, the greening of schoolyards, and other efforts to sensitize Canadians to the benefits of planting and maintaining trees. To date, more than 77 million trees have been planted, more than 450 schoolyards have been greened, and Tree Canada has organized nine national urban forest conferences. More information about Tree Canada is available at www.treecanada.ca.

About TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF)

The TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) is a national organization, formed by TD Bank Financial Group, with a grassroots focus that funds local projects dedicated to preserving the environment. We work with Canadians who are committed to protecting the environment in their own community and across the country. Since 1990, with your help, the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation has provided more than $54 million to support over 20,000 grassroots environmental projects in communities across Canada. And every year TD Bank Financial Group contributes an additional $1 million to TD FEF.

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation has been working with Tree Canada in promoting TD Green Streets, a program that offers up to $15,000 in funds to municipalities for greening projects.

About MAJESTA

MAJESTA is the soft and green choice for household paper products.   MAJESTA products are made from new wood fibres of trees from J.D. Irving, Limited's forests. As part of its award-winning commitment to responsible forest management, J.D. Irving, Limited plants seedlings every spring and summer to reforest the woodlands. In the past 50+ years, J.D. Irving, Limited has planted over 850 million trees. Since 2001, J.D. Irving, Limited's forests have been certified by The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. ("SFI"). Our promise is: "We plant three trees for every one we use to produce MAJESTA products." Both soft and green, MAJESTA delivers the softness you can feel and feel good about.

Majesta is working with Tree Canada and Ontario Forestry Association (OFA) to provide schools with funding for outdoor classrooms with their Trees of Knowledge program. The mission of this program is to get Canadian schools thinking of ways to incorporate outdoor learning and environmental education into their curriculum.

About TELUS

At TELUS, we believe in our hearts and minds that in order to do well in business, we must do 'good' in the communities where we live, work and serve. TELUS' collaboration with Tree Canada began with our support of a single new initiative, the Greening School Grounds Program in Alberta, which protected the health of school children by strategically planting trees on school grounds to help protect them from the sun's harmful rays. As TELUS is deeply committed to making the future friendly for all children, this program was perfectly aligned to our community investment philosophy. Over the course of our 13 year partnership, TELUS has significantly expanded our support to include a variety of Tree Canada initiatives, as well as the creation of TELUS programs, such as our cell phone recycling programs, which benefit Tree Canada.

Image with caption: "Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada, admires the first tree planted to celebrate National Tree Day in Canada. (CNW Group/Tree Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110921_C5235_PHOTO_EN_3593.jpg

SOURCE Tree Canada

For further information:

Melissa Nisbett
Communications Officer
613-567-5545, ext. 224
mnisbett@treecanada.ca


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