Adoptive Parents Badly Needed…for Trees!

Members of SLOE's Adopt-A-Tree program gather at a "potting party". Photo Supplied

Members of SLOE’s Adopt-A-Tree program gather at a “potting party”. Photo Supplied

MAINSTREETER STAFF

We know Old Ottawa East (OOE) residents love their trees, so here’s your chance to add more green to your property and improve OOE’s tree canopy at the same time.

Over the past two months, Sustainable Living Ottawa East (or SLOE, the environment committee of the Old Ottawa East Community Association) has been carrying out an Adopt-a-Tree program in the community. Residents can get free seedlings along with advice and guidance from SLOE’s tree team on tree planting on their property.

“It’s been great,” said Jayson MacLean, chair of SLOE. “Aside from getting more trees in the ground, we’ve also been raising awareness of the importance of our tree canopy in Old Ottawa East and encouraging residents to think long-term about their trees and the important role they play in our lives, even in an urban setting.”

SLOE has a number of tree species available through its Adopt-a-Tree program and the group has been going door-to-door to speak with residents about their trees and where there might be room to plant more. SLOE has also been directing residents to the City of Ottawa’s Trees in Trust program through which residents can get good-sized trees planted for free within the City-owned right-of-way adjacent to their property.

At last count, OOE’s tree canopy coverage stands at about 24 percent, which is low compared to some other areas like Blackburn Hamlet at 33 percent coverage or Alta Vista at 28 percent. The City of Ottawa’s new Official Plan has put up the target of 40 percent canopy coverage city-wide but that goal aims for an average across the city rather than hitting 40 percent in each and every neighbourhood.

Raising OOE’s tree coverage will be a difficult task when considering the scale of development currently taking place in the area. MacLean says the problem isn’t just development but also the loss of trees to disease, old age and storms, like the “derecho” thunderstorm in May, all of which have put a strain on our neighbourhood’s canopy.

“We’ve spoken to lots of residents who care passionately about their trees. Very naturally, we develop deep personal connections to trees and seeing them come down is really heartbreaking for a lot of residents,” he said.

OOE residents interested in learning more or helping out in SLOE’s Adopt-a-Tree program can contact Jayson MacLean at sloe@ottawaeast.ca.

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