Ontario Government Helps Cities Plant Trees To Fight Climate Change



    Cleaner Air And Water, Energy Conservation Among Benefits

    LONDON, ON, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - 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.
    

    "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:

For further information: Media Calls Only, Anne-Marie Flanagan,
Minister's Office, (416) 327-0654; Jolanta Kowalski, Communications Services
Branch, (416) 314-2106

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Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

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