Town celebrates first official Arbour Day
Wet weather does not stop tree enthusiasts
Pouring rain and overcast skies did not deter a small crowd from participating in the Town's first ever Arbour Day celebrations on June 18.
The group of soaking wet citizens, elected officials and Town staff planted 14 trees within the Willow Park Natural Area (event photos online at www.stonyplain.com). This year's inaugural celebration, a Council-led initiative, launched what will become an annual public event in Stony Plain.
“It is important that we come together as a community in this way, to show that trees – and our community’s green spaces – are important to all of us,” says Ken Lemke, mayor of Stony Plain, adding that, as sources of joy and spiritual renewal, trees increase property values, enhance economic vitality and help beautify the community. “Each of us must recognize not only the ecological benefits of protecting our natural assets but also the social and recreational benefits, for both present and future generations – not only for the immediate neighbourhood, but for the wider community as well.”
The inaugural celebration coincided with the launch of Phase II of the Willow Park Natural Area Revitalization Project. Thanks to a $15,000 TD Green Streets matching grant, administered by Tree Canada and TD Friends of the Environment (TD FEF), the Town is able to continue the work started on this project last year.
“We are very grateful to TD FEF and Tree Canada for the generous funding,” says Lemke. "Across Canada, communities of all sizes are realizing the benefits of protecting and celebrating their urban forests," says Michael Rosen, Tree Canada President. "Congratulations to the Town of Stony Plain for its commitment to managing the Willow Park Natural Area Revitalization Project."
Launched in 2010, this environmental initiative is intended to enhance the area immediately east of Willow Park. As this delicate ecosystem is home to a diversity of small wildlife and native vegetation, the area has been designated a natural reserve. Phase II enhancements include tree planting to boost biodiversity and protection for birds and wildlife; construction of approximately 150 metres of multi-purpose trails; installation of interpretive signage; and leveling and seeding of land directly behind residential properties that back onto the park.
About Arbour Day
Conceived by J. Sterling Morton nearly 140 years ago, Arbour Day was first observed in 1872, with the planting of more than one million trees in Nebraska and is now observed throughout the world. Although Arbour Day has been celebrated in Alberta since 1884, the Town had never formally established any of its own official celebrations. As varying climates across the province favour tree planting at different times, there is no fixed day set for Arbour Day; however, celebrations typically occur in May or June.
About TD Green Streets
TD Green Streets is a national program that supports innovative practices in municipal forestry. Through this unique program, communities across Canada are eligible to receive matching grants of up to $15,000 to support local forestry projects. TD Green Streets is open to Canadian municipalities and First Nations communities, as well as Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) in Montréal, Vancouver and Toronto. Project applications are evaluated on a number of criteria, including Innovation, Community Involvement and Partnerships. For more information on TD Green Streets, visit www.tdgreenstreets.ca.
About TD Friends of the Environment Foundation
Since 1990, TD FEF has provided more than $54 million in funding to over 19,500 grassroots environment and wildlife projects across Canada. In 2010, TD FEF provided more than $3.5 million in support of 970 projects. Thousands of donors give to TD FEF on a monthly basis and TD Bank Financial Group contributes in excess of $1 million annually. TD also covers the management costs of running TD FEF, which guarantees 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes directly to funding environment and wildlife projects in the community where the donation was made. For more information on how to donate and get involved in your community, visit www.tdfef.com.
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.