OUFC Annual Conference: 2010 November 4- 5, 2010: Four Points Sheraton, Thorold ON
There was a sell-out crowd for this year’s annual conference. Our varied and engaging speakers looked at the many ways that our urban forests contribute to our social, psychological and physical wellbeing. Healthier children, skin cancer prevention, even lower rates of violence are just some of the benefits of healthy urban forests according to research findings. Presentations and reports included: The Urban Forest Benefits Model, Evergreen’s contribution to the urban forest, Gosling Wildlife Gardens, i-Tree Eco Analyses in the GTA, Re-Leaf Niagara, Shade for Good Health and a Green City, Sudbury’s City-Wide Forest Renewal and The School Regreening Program, Neighbours Plant Trees That Seed A Community, Vegetation and Violence Neighbours & Nature.
Urban Forest Conference Sat. February 26th
Representatives from some 20 Urban Forest organizations from across the province gathered at Toronto Botanical Gardens on Saturday, Feb 26 to share ideas, experiences, concerns and determine ways that to work collectively to overcome some of the challenges facing urban forest organizations.
We spent part of the day sharing details about our various programs and the remainder pinpointing some of our specific challenges and potential solutions – or at least next steps. We all agreed that:
• we need more municipal involvement – there is a generally lack of capacity to allow for urban forests and municipal policies are outdated. And, we need to influence developers who maximize building footprints leaving little space for trees.
• we need better ways to maintain our urban forests with long term planning and priority for green infastructure
• we need better public engagement with more effective public education and awareness
• we need better funding which recognizes the value of value of the environmental services and expertise provided by tree planting. It can not all be done on the backs of volunteers. Funding which only covers trees leaves no money for planning, volunteer coordination or subsequent tree stewardship.
Each of these “round table” discussions determined specific and realistic action steps to address these needs which was a very satisfying outcome for the day. The workshop organizers have sent out detailed next steps to participants so we keep the momentum going.
Over lunch, Dr Andy Kenney, from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry, shared his perspective on the state of the urban forest and some of the work being done.
LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) of Toronto demonstrated their new Urban Forest Stewardship Network website- an on-line resource for urban tree organizations to share activities and programs.
2009 Conference: Tree Preservation and the Planning Process
Three session with presentations by: Michael Wynia, Suzanne Young, Eric Leon, Martin Volhard & Peter Wynnyczuk, Ian Bruce, Allan Elgar, Dr. Andy Kenney, and Barbara Heidenreich
OUFC: Networking Workshop
Held on February 21, 2009 : Read the article
2008 Conference: A collection of Urban Tree Issues
Speaker presentations by Amanda McConnell, Amber Crowie, Andrew Millward, Bill Snodgrass, Brian Swaile, Jennifer Gibb, Josef Ric, Lionel Normand, Nathalie Karvonen, Peter Simon, Steve Smith.
2007 Conference: Climate Change and the Future of Ontario’s Forests: Can we help our urban and rural forests adapt?
Held on October 18, 2007, this event highlighted the efforts of both professionals and community members who are trying to protect the urban forest from the impacts of climate change.
View the AGM’s Agenda | View the Directors’ Message
2006 Conference: Our Legacy – Our Heritage Trees: What we have received? What will we endow?
The program included the following talks:
Today’s Urban Forest – The future starts today
Slides of designated trees (Paul Cadieux)
Old Growth Conservation (Dr Willard Carmean)
Urban Seed Trees (Marshall Buchanan)
Carolinian Species (Bill Morsink)
Tomorrow’s Heritage Trees – What will we endow future generations?
Development Protection (Tom Mikel)
Heritage Protection Tools (Barbara Heidenreich)
Tree Hunts to Stewardship Programs (Toni Ellis)
Biologically Appropriate Species (Barb Boysen)
Announcement – The OHTA Tool Kit Workshop (Fran Moscall)
OUFC: Getting the Jump on Spring
The OUFC had a booth at Get the Jump on Spring, the Toronto Botanical Garden‘s first major horticultural event of 2006 on February 18, with OUFC board members Bill Morsink and Norma Lundberg on hand to answer questions. The OUFC display included information about its forthcoming Tree Seed Conservation workshop June 17 at Banbury Community Centre in Toronto (see Events for details) as well as material promoting the activities of allied groups such as LEAF and the OHTA. The OUFC’s new book, Ontario Urban Forests – Scrapbook II: Growing Interest and Concern, had just been received from the printer and was available for viewing and purchase. (A retired horticulturist was pleased to see that the Scrapbook is dedicated to Eric Jorgensen.) A popular handout was the Tree Identification publication initially produced by the Ontario Shade Tree Council and now distributed by the OUFC, with an updated version in the planning stages. OUFC board member Peter Dmytrasz was one of the speakers at the event and gave a talk on “The Ten Best Small Trees for your Garden” to a packed room of 50 people.
The gardening crowd attending Get the Jump on Spring were slightly puzzled to see the OUFC material and spent considerable time exploring the display, as this was the first introduction to many of them to the concept of urban forestry, to the activities of our organization of volunteers of diverse backgrounds, and to information about the involvement of communities in caring for their trees. The TBG’s Executive Director, Margo Welch, stopped by to say how pleased she was with OUFC’s presence as the urban forest concept is becoming an important issue for the TBG. Bill Morsink has already been asked to be involved with TBG tree walks. The TBG Shop will also have copies of the Scrapbook for sale.
As the OUFC is a member of the TBG, this was a worthwhile opportunity to make urban forestry visible and accessible to the horticultural community.
Professionals and Amateurs – Nurturing the Forest
This special event, held October 20, 2005, highlighted the efforts and successes of both professionals and community members to protect the forest in their neighbourhoods.
Click here to learn more…
Tree Tour of Earl Bales Park
This tour, presented by the Ontario Urban Forest Council and Led by Bill Morsink on Saturday, June 11, 2005, provided unique insight into some of the important native tree communities remaining in this wonderful park. These hidden treasures are an important component of our Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest Region. The walk also included an in-depth evaluation of the many tree plantations that have been established in the park over the last 50 years. Participants learned about the different approaches that were used in establishing plantations, the reasons behind establishing them and the lessons learned.
OUFC hosts display at the Earth Day Tree Planting Festival
Downsview Park, Sunday April 24. The event was organized by Earth Day Canada, Toronto Region Conservation and Parc Downsview Park Inc.
OUFC hosts educational display at the Sucess with Gardening trade show
March 17 to 20, 2005: The Kids “Make It and Take It” Garden (KG) was part of the Success with Gardening (SWG) trade show in its 14th year at the International Centre in Mississauga. The KG is sponsored by volunteer groups working together to expose children to the wonders of nature and gardening. The organizers this year were volunteers from the Master Gardeners of Ontario, the Mississauga Garden Council and the Ontario Horticultural Association, representing 280 horticultural societies and garden clubs with over 40,000 members across Ontario. www.gardenontario.org
This year’s theme was URBAN FORESTS. Special guest presenters were invited to share their expertise. This year the program included the Ontario Urban Forest Council and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Other contributions from the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority, various nurseries and trades and individuals helped fund the efforts. www.home-show.net/successwithgardening
Fall 2004 Workshop and Annual General Meeting
Natural Monuments: How to Recognize and Protect Heritage Trees in our Communities, Oct 5, 2004
Held at the Toronto Botanical Gardens (formerly the Civic Garden Centre)
The program included the following talks:
A Definition of Heritage Trees
The Great One Hundred: A Proposal to Recognize Ontario’s Heritage Trees
Toronto Tree Portraits – 2005 Calendar
Current Provincial Legislation: Can It Protect Heritage Trees?
Heritage Trees: A Talk and a Walk
Surrey’s Great Tree Hunt: A Case Study
An Overabundance of Shade? The History of Ottawa’s Trees
Drafting an Action Plan for Provincial Heritage Tree Recognition: A Participatory Discussion
Developing Strategies to Protect Heritage Trees in Provincial & Municipal Legislation
Spring Workshop June 19, 2004
St. Elias Ukrainian Catholic Church Hall, 10193 Heritage Road, Brampton Ontario
A day long workshop that included speakers from Trees Thunder Bay and the City of Barrie. Representatives from the Ministry of Culture and the Toronto North Community Preservation Panel presented ideas on designating and protecting heritage trees. A walkabout followed.
OUFC Annual General Meeting
On December 4, 2003, the OUFC held its annual general meeting. Highlights included a report on the year’s activities, adoption of a revised constitution and the voting in of directors for 2004. Dr. Andy Kenney, who resigned as a director, was presented with a plaque in honour of his many years of dedication and service to the OUFC. The workshop held at the AGM was entitled “Canada’s Urban Forests in Crisis?”. The evening was moderated by Andy Kenney, and speakers included Jon Hall of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Richard Ubbens of the City of Toronto, and Joe McCarthy, City Forester from Chicago. Approximately 100 people attended.
For details on any of these items, including a copy of the revised constitution and notes from the AGM workshop, contact Jack Radecki.
Getting the Jump on Spring
On February 22, 2004 Peter Dmytrasz represented the OUFC at the Toronto Botanical Garden for this gardeners’ event. Peter’s presentation on “Five Top Things to Do For Your Trees” was a popular session for the keen gardeners attending this event.
Ontario Smart Growth – Public Consultation
Public consultation for the Central Ontario region was held on Thursday February 27, 2003. In attendance at this meeting were OUFC Directors Bohdan Kowalyk, Fran Moscall and Jack Radecki. The panel, headed by Mayor Hazel McCallion, asked for the public’s thoughts on its ideas for dealing with traffic gridlock, managing waste and curbing urban sprawl.
Under the draft for “Strategic Directions” there is a section referred to as “Protecting the Environment.” The Panel recognizes the important role of “green infrastructure’ (the system of lakes, valleys, and woodlands that contribute to environmental functions) in both rural and urban areas. This includes the role of greenspace and parks with respect to recreation, improving air quality, water management and energy conservation. Further work is required to define green infrastructure, its contribution to environmental quality and implementation mechanisms. During the question and answer session, I asked the panel to recognize the “Urban Forest” in the many cities, towns and villages in Southern Ontario.
Instead of Green Infrastructure they should use the term Urban Forest. The Urban Forest does not only include woodlands and parks, but also the many private trees that face developers wrath and the many street trees that do not have the proper soil environment to grow and necessary resources for aftercare.
Envirothon – Ontario Forestry Association
The Ontario Forestry Association coordinates an environmental competition amongst highschools across the province every year. Participants learn about air, water, soils and forests through class study and field trips. This year the OUFC provided one of the field trips – a tour through Mt Pleasant Cemetery, followed by a discussion and question period. OUFC Directors Peter Dmytrasz and Fran Moscall joined me for this early April event. Approximately 20 participants braved the wet and icy weather!
The focus of the tree walk was to show that Mt. Pleasant was indeed an urban park with a collection of trees to form an Arboretum. Samples of the Arboretum plan were provided to the group. Some basic tree identification principles were outlined along with stress and pest issues for urban trees. The walk ended at a historic Red Oak within the cemetery which has been preserved through the efforts of the host along with major cabling and bracing techniques that were required to keep this tree safe. A discussion of “Urban Forest” issues followed the walk. Topics included urban tree protection and tree planting.