Root for Trees: Maintaining and Expanding Edmonton’s Urban Forest
Link to a video on Root for Trees produced by the Alberta Emerald Foundation:
Root for Trees is an Emerald Award-winning program run by the City of Edmonton that promotes the planting of trees across the city. Katelynn Webb, the Greening Program Supervisor for the project, describes her organization as “an enhanced tree planting initiative that works to preserve and expand Edmonton’s urban forest through partnerships with corporations, community groups, and individual residents.” The program helps to improve Edmonton’s livability through community engagement with the goal of improving not only Edmonton’s ecosystem, but the community itself.
Root for Trees is all about community tree-planting
Root for Trees invites citizens to participate in tree planting events where they are provided all the material required for an exciting and educational day in nature. These events help the organization reach both their annual goal of planting 45,000 trees and their overall goal of doubling Edmonton’s urban forest within 10 years.
The benefits of increasing Edmonton’s urban forest include:
- Native plants, birds, and other wildlife are better able to re-establish in healthy ecosystems
- Carbon dioxide reduction
- Slope stabilization along river banks, ravine banks, and storm water ponds
- Improved water quality (some pollutants are taken up or transformed by plants and microbes)
- Native species conservation
- Increased water retention in soil and reduced flooding
The Root for Trees project is important and ongoing because forests are always changing and adapting to their environment. This means that Edmonton’s urban forest canopy is at risk of becoming a limited resource if not monitored and maintained. Edmonton’s urban forest is an important natural resource that needs upkeep and continual maintenance to remain the important fixture in the city that it is today.
Root for Trees has other important projects too
Root for Trees also works on several other projects with the same goal of maintaining Edmonton’s urban environment, including:
- Root for Trees’ Pollinator Planting events, that teach about the benefits of pollinators (like bees and ants) and their important role in the city’s ecosystem.
- Edmonton’s first Food Forest, a collection of trees and shrubs that produce food and is self-sustaining.
These events help to promote community engagement while also improving not only the spaces we live in but how the community interacts with it.
Roots for Trees benefits more than just the environment
In addition to their environmental activism, Root for Trees also educates citizens on environmental topics. With each event, Edmontonians learn about the importance of being more environmentally conscious and are given great opportunities to play an important role in our local urban forest. Along with community education, Root for Trees also brings physical benefits to the community through naturalization. Planting more trees in urban areas allows those spaces to become healthy ecosystems, which has many social and psychological benefits, including improved mental health and increased relaxation from people spending more time outside.
Root for Trees works with the community to plant over 45,000 trees a year in an effort to sustain Edmonton’s huge urban forest and engage the community in environmental activism and education. By providing all the tools and information necessary to get as many people involved as possible, every Root for Trees event is bound up with helping both the environment and the community.
Check out their programs and see how you can get involved!
(Cover image taken from The Root for Trees website)