Where did 2017 go? We have been looking forward to (and organizing around) Canada’s 150th for so long, it’s hard to believe it’s almost over. With a brand new year on the horizon, it seems an appropriate time to update you on what Ecology Ottawa’s Living City campaign – our work on trees, water and greenspace – has been up to during the past 12 months.
In 2017, we…
- Held Ottawa’s inaugural Park Summit
On Earth Day (April 22nd) Ecology Ottawa, in collaboration with Park People, held the inaugural Park Summit which brought together many Ottawa organizations already working on parks and concerned citizens who want to get more involved. The day was a massive success, with over 100 people attending. We zeroed in on the challenges and opportunities facing our city’s parks and greenspace, and connected the various groups working to make a more vibrant city. To read more about our Park Summit please see our report here.
- Helped usher in Ottawa’s first ever Urban Forest Management Plan
After four years of organizing, and over 11,000 signatures on our petition, the City of Ottawa officially adopted a strong Urban Forest Management Plan. Because of strong support and input from Ottawa residents, our city may well emerge from the devastation of the Emerald Ash Borer with a stronger and more resilient tree canopy. The City moved to address concerns with early drafts of the plan, articulating a clear vision of increasing forest cover and pushing key deliverables into the near term. This past summer, we congratulated the City on its adoption of the plan. Our next challenge is to monitor implementation of the plan to ensure success over the coming years.
- Helped find homes for 11,000 baby trees
Back in 2013, Ecology Ottawa set a goal to organize Ottawa, as a community, to plant one million trees as our gift to Canada for it’s 150th birthday. Although we’re close to our goal, most of these trees are on public lands or private lands in rural areas. This work has made a real difference in the health and vibrancy of our city, but we know you can’t fully re-plant a tree canopy if you don’t also cover private property in the urban area. After all, this is where the vast majority of Ottawans live, work and play. This is why Ecology Ottawa started our first ever tree give-away program in 2017. Over the course of the year, thousands of Ottawa residents took home tree saplings, replanting urban properties in every corner of the city. These baby trees have all been added to our online tree map which not only shows the scope of the give-away but the environmental benefits as well. Check out our map here and see how these trees are really having a major impact on our environment.
Absolutely none of these amazing milestones would have been possible without the generous support of people from across the city. Dozens of volunteers have provided hundreds of hours in volunteer work, helping to organize events, help us with research, work on our website and transport trees across the city. We also can’t thank our generous donors enough. Donor support has helped pay for materials and for the staff time required to organize and sustain our presence in the community.
As we move into 2018, we’re eager to continue our work – to find thousands of more homes for trees, to push for a more nature-friendly city, and to connect hundreds of residents to the living city that surrounds them.
All the best of the season to you and yours!
Velta, Vi, Lea, Robb and the entire Ecology Ottawa team