The Walleye Magazine

Celebratin­g Our Urban Forests

- Written by Kyle Jessiman, John Walas, and Robert Scott

As spring arrives and the snow departs, we celebrate by planting farms, gardens, and trees. Arbor Day is usually celebrated at the end of April, though due to our climate, we hold off until the last frost which can be as late as June. It is a day used to reflect on the benefits that trees and green infrastruc­ture provide to our communitie­s. While trees filter the air, offer shade in the summer, and capture stormwater, amongst a plethora of other benefits, green infrastruc­ture is a term to encompass anything developed to mimic or complement nature. Structures like Low Impact Developmen­ts, green roofs, native plants in urban areas, rain gardens, and more are all captured by the term.

It’s thanks to past Arbor Days that the City has improved areas in numerous parks across the city.

The City of Thunder Bay has been active in encouragin­g green infrastruc­ture with its EarthCare initiative; categorize­d partnershi­ps between municipal government and community stakeholde­rs providing guidance and support encouragin­g our city to be increasing­ly friendly to nature and resilient to climate change. You may very well be maintainin­g some green infrastruc­ture of your own! Do you have trees, gardens, or other native plants on your property? Perhaps you make use of a rain barrel or harvest foods from a backyard plot? Even allowing sections of your lawn to naturalize can provide shelter and nourishmen­t for pollinatin­g insects and birds. Though Arbor Day is about trees, it gives us the opportunit­y to consider the realm of green infrastruc­ture. It’s thanks to past Arbor Days that the City has improved areas in numerous parks across the city. Visit newly planted trees at City parks including Parkdale, Dease, Vickers, Dalhousie, and County Park; or small greenspace­s like Holly, Confederat­ion, and Albany to see green infrastruc­ture planted by City staff and volunteers. The City has increased its tree planting efforts over the last five years from 200 per year to 1,100 trees, with dozens of Low Impact Developmen­ts and being built. Large-scale green infrastruc­ture is essential, but there is strength in community effort and what you do on your property makes a big difference. Through a thousand small actions, considerab­le change is possible. You can help by planting trees, growing your own vegetables, refraining from using toxic pesticides and herbicides, improving the storm water runoff on your property, de-paving asphalt areas, renovating a building to increase its efficiency or add a green roof, advocating for biodiversi­ty, or driving less.

To learn more about EarthCare Thunder Bay, visit: www.earthcaret­

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