Amherstburg approves seed funding for plan to plant nearly 8,000 trees over the next five years

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The Amherstburg council on Monday approved spending $ 6,000 remaining in its tree-planting budget on a proposal by powerful new community group Thrive Amherstburg to plant nearly 8,000 trees over the next five years.


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“What I like about tonight (the proposal)”, Coun. Don McArthur told the group, “It’s so simple. You have set smart and measurable goals. The simplest thing we can do is plant trees. “

The proposal, in Thrive’s new “white paper” on climate change, begins with an $ 18,200 pilot project to plant 200 trees next year. If successful, the group proposes doubling the number every year for four years, culminating with 4,000 trees in 2026.

The $ 6,000 is needed now to reserve the trees for next year.

Trees capture carbon, produce oxygen, cool our communities and provide habitat for wildlife, Lisa Porter, a professor at the University of Windsor and a Thrive member, told the council.

Essex County’s forest cover – just 5.7 percent according to the white paper, the lowest in southwestern Ontario – is “shocking,” he said.


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The Essex Region Conservation Authority offers a subsidized tree program for land larger than one acre. But there are no incentives for landowners with less than an acre or who want to plant just one or two trees on their urban properties.

Thrive proposes to work with the city to offer free trees to residents. Nine species of local origin are proposed. Half would come with 20 gallon bags of water.

Residents would receive information on the species, instructions on how to plant and care for them, and a contact number for questions and assistance.

The city would hire four young people for three weekends in April and May to launch the project on Earth Day by planting trees for the elderly and directing tree collection by other residents.


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Two of the youths would also work part-time between March and August to help publicize the project, distribute sign-in sheets to residents, recruit youth volunteers, monitor the trees, and even help Porter and Professor Cameron Proctor write a report for advice on results. of the project.

Data will be collected on everything from tree growth to the number of residents participating, their satisfaction with the project, and the impact on climate change awareness and the value of trees.

Porter and Proctor would present the report to the council in October. It would be used to inform the second year of the project, when 500 trees would be planted.

That goal would grow to 1,000 trees in 2024, 2,000 in 2025, and 4,000 in 2026.


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“It is time for Amherstburg to act on its 2019 climate emergency declaration and its recent approval of the Essex Region Power Plan,” the document states.

“Increasing forest cover is one of the most effective things we can do to combat climate change,” he says.

The 13-page document, from Porter, Proctor, law professor Jasminka Kalajdzic, former Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie, and Essex County Country Naturalists Club president Karen Alexander, among others, quotes the increasing impact of climate change, including storms and floods. and extreme heat in Essex County.

“Even small communities like Amherstburg must step up and address the climate crisis,” he says.

“If Amherstburg executes this idea, it will gain recognition as a small community that took creative steps to address the climate crisis,” the document states. “This concept can become a best practice for other small communities to follow.”

The group calls its white paper the first phase of its climate action plan for the city. He says he will present more white papers on the climate crisis over the next 12 months “because Amherstburg should no longer be on the sidelines.”

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