U of T's faculty of forestry is working with a Cabbagetown community group to teach regular folks how to care for trees in their own communities.
Maria Toledo Garibaldi, a PhD student with UofT's faculty of forestry encourages regular people
to become 'citizen foresters' and learn more about the trees in their own communities.
The seeds of environmental stewardship are being planted around the city with new projects that encourage “citizen forestry:” regular people taking care of trees in their own neighbourhoods.
In Cabbagetown, a non-profit called Cabbagetown ReLEAF is working with the faculty of forestry at the University of Toronto to to care for neighbourhood trees.
Earlier this month, they held a training session for other budding citizen foresters.
Covering basics such as pruning, tree inventory, and knowing who to call if a tree needs help, the first training day was just “scratching the surface,” said professor Danijela Puric-Mladenovic.
David Grant of Cabbagetown ReLEAF, called the training a “hands on introduction to what we’re going to be all about.”
The non-profit is developing a free course that residents will be able to take to learn more about how to care for trees and protect them.
Puric-Mladenovic said “citizen scientists” have been around for a while, but it’s harder to get people excited about trees than baby animals or butterflies.
“They’re much easier to relate to because they’re fuzzy and they’re cute,” she said.
But trees are not only part of the community, they’re even more important as we grapple with climate change, she added.
They’re more vulnerable with extreme weather events like ice storms, but they’re also vital to cool down neighbourhoods and even homes as temperatures rise.
María Toledo Garibaldi, a PhD student with UofT’s faculty of forestry, worked on a tree inventory with residents of the Playter Estates neighbourhood near Broadview station last spring, sharing her skills to help them take stock of the their trees.
Getting ordinary people, and not just experts, engaged is a crucial part of taking care of the city’s tree canopy, she said.