Growing the District's urban forest

By District Staff on Wednesday, Nov 9, 2022

We’re helping to expand the urban forest in the District.

On Saturday, October 22, District staff handed out 450 trees and shrubs to residents who participated in the second annual Urban Tree Canopy Project.

In 2021, the District’s environmental team introduced the program to encourage residents to plant more trees in their yards.

What are the benefits of an urban forest? 

A more diverse and healthy urban tree canopy will help us take action against climate change and increase biodiversity and wildlife habitat.  

“Expanding the urban forest canopy provides many environmental and health benefits,” says Erika Nassichuk, environmental protection officer at the District. “Along with capturing and storing carbon, trees provide shade which cool our neighbourhoods during heat waves, which are becoming more frequent due to our changing climate.”

Other benefits of a robust and resilient urban forest include: 

  • Absorbing rainwater and reducing runoff into the storm sewer system 
  • Filtering air pollutants
  • Stabilizing soils
  • Providing food and shelter for wildlife and habitat connectivity

“Trees are also beneficial for improving our mental and physical well-being,” adds Chelsea Nerpio, environmental control technician at the District.

    From backyards to balconies 

    We expanded this year’s Urban Tree Canopy Project so those living in apartments or condos could receive a plant or shrub for their balcony.

    This year’s program offered a variety of tree and shrub species: cedar, fir, dogwood, shore pine, big leaf maple, willow, Nootka rose, woolly sunflower, tall Oregon grape, and Douglas aster.

    To date, District residents have received 689 trees and shrubs to plant and help grow our tree canopy. 

    The District partnered with the Wild Bird Trust, the Coast Salish Plant Nursery, and the Pacific Environmental Science Centre for this year's program. Staff and volunteers from all the organizations involved made the tree pickup day a success.

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