TD Green Streets helps 25 communities grow their urban forest

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CNW- From British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, communities across the country are painting the town green.

Monday,March 3,  TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) and Tree Canada recognized innovative ideas in urban forestry by awarding 25 communities with TD Green Streets grants of up to $15,000. The funds will be used to support leading-edge practices in municipal forestry, including tree planting, inventory, maintenance and educational activities.

"Based on the number of innovative ideas we continue to receive, it's clear that Canadian municipalities are inspired to build a greener future," says Mary Desjardins, executive director, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. "Together with Tree Canada, we're proud to support the advancement of urban forestry and I applaud all applicants for understanding the benefits that trees bring to their communities."

Recipients were awarded for proposing various initiatives, including outreach and educational programs related to arboricultural practices, management tools to protect and maintain community trees, innovative planting techniques, and other activities that support existing urban green spaces and encourage planting trees.

"We are so pleased that Canadians continue to recognize the great importance of trees in creating more sustainable, vibrant and healthy communities," says Michael Rosen, president of Tree Canada. "Thanks to innovative programs like TD Green Streets, we are growing canopies across the country and, more importantly, setting the example for future generations to continue to plant and maintain trees for the benefit of all."

Resulting green infrastructure provides a variety of social, health, environmental and economic benefits. For example, trees properly planted around buildings can reduce air conditioning requirements by 30 per cent and can save 20 to 50 per cent in energy used for heating.*

Some of the ways this year's TD Green Streets recipients will impact Canadian communities in 2014:

Abbotsford, BC - In collaboration with the Mission Nature Club, the city plans to revitalize the Willband Creek Park by planting native shrub and tree species and removing invasive reed canary grass. These efforts will significantly improve biodiversity and increase waterfowl habitat.

Brampton, ON - As part of a comprehensive plan for environmental improvement of the County Court community, the city will install two demonstration bio-swales - landscape elements designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water - which will capture and treat storm water runoff before it enters the sewer system.

Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC - Funds will be applied to the construction of the first arboretum in the city, which will be used for awareness and education programs. The arboretum will include a pre-colonial forest, North American trees that adapt to climate change and a small orchard of apples, plums, pears and cherries.

Summerside, PEI - Several activities are planned for the Summerside Rotary Friendship Park, which provides educational and recreational opportunities for area citizens and visitors. Some of these initiatives include the installation of an accessible community garden and the planting of indigenous trees to promote forest regeneration.

Full list of 2014 TD Green Streets recipients:

Abbottsford, BC          Strathcona BIA, Vancouver, BC

Pemberton, BC          District of North Saanich, BC

Edmonton, AB          Lloydminster, AB

Kamsack, SK          Swift Current, SK

Winkler, MB          Brampton, ON

Pickering, ON          London, ON

Kitchener, ON          Strathroy, ON

Parry Sound BIA, ON         Greater Napanee, ON

Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC        Rosemère, QC

Montréal BIA - Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, QC      Beaconsfield, QC

Dieppe, NB          Tracadie-Sheila, NB

Kingston, NS          Summerside, PEI

Stratford, PEI

Applications to the 2014 TD Green Streets program were open to Canadian municipalities, Aboriginal communities and Business Improvement Associations (BIAs). All submissions were reviewed by representatives from Tree Canada and TD FEF, and regional urban forest practitioners, based on innovation, community involvement and technical expertise. Since the program's inception in 1994, more than 500 communities have received grants. For more information about TD Green Streets, and to learn how to apply for a 2015 TD Green Streets grant, please visit www.tdgreenstreets.ca

Are you tree-savvy?

Whether we realize it or not, trees are an essential part our daily lives.

How much do you know about trees? Take this quiz to find out.

True or False?

There are less than 100 different species of trees in Canada.

False: There are over 180 species of trees in Canada and they come in all different shapes and sizes.**

Only conifer trees grow in Canada.

False: Conifer and deciduous trees grow in Canada. Coniferous trees grow upward and produce cones. Examples include fir, spruce and pine trees, which all have needles. On the contrary, deciduous trees grow outwards and produce leaves. Examples include maple and oak trees.

Canada did not officially recognize the maple tree as its arboreal emblem (official tree) until 1996.

True: While the maple leaf has been the centre of the Canadian flag since 1965 and has become the most prominent Canadian symbol both nationally and internationally, the maple tree was not officially recognized as Canada's arboreal emblem until 1996. Each province also has an established arboreal emblem, which are important elements within the family of national symbols.***

There are no benefits to having trees except that they make the city look nice.

False: Trees provide a number of significant benefits to urban residents, from improving air quality by removing carbon dioxide to increasing job satisfaction and improving one's ability to concentrate. Trees also prevent runoff and erosion, resulting in improved water quality and reduced flooding.*

Trees make people happy.

True: The psychological impact of trees on people's moods, emotions and enjoyment of their surroundings may in fact be one of the greatest benefits urban forests provide.****

Organizations: 2015 TD Green Streets, Tree Canada, Environment Foundation TD FEF Mission Nature Club North American

Geographic location: Canada, Summerside, Abbotsford Creek Park Salaberry-de-Valleyfield Canada.False Summerside Rotary Friendship Park Abbottsford Vancouver Saanich Swift Current London Strathroy Napanee

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