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You Can't Spell Streets Without Trees

As trees are known to reduce the negative impact of pollution on air quality, the city of Hamilton offers a free street tree to eligible properties that make a request for one. However this program is severely underused.

By Chelsea Lowes
Published June 07, 2017

The Street Tree Project was established in 2013 through OPIRG McMaster, a not-for-profit organization facilitating environmental and social justice through multiple student and community based projects and programs. The project promotes the planting of Street Trees through campaign efforts targeted at a different, at-risk neighbourhood each year.

Street tree canopy (RTH file photo)
Street tree canopy (RTH file photo)

A major risk to many Hamilton communities is poor air quality and pollution. In fact, research has demonstrated a relationship between air quality, income, and urban forest canopy present in Hamilton neighbourhoods, where lower air quality is often measured in neighbourhoods with a lower-than-average income and tree count.

As trees are known to reduce the negative impact of pollution on air quality, the city of Hamilton offers a free street tree to eligible properties that make a request for one. However this program is severely underused.

Volunteers of the Street Tree Project canvass the targeted community, informing residents of the Street Tree Planting Program offered through the city, as well as the benefits of a single tree, and file the request through the city on their behalf.

The project has demonstrated substantial community involvement in local beautification and environmental initiatives, facilitating both, partnerships with community-based organizations and planning teams, as well as an increase in tree requests.

In its first year, the project generated 75 tree requests working with the Keith neighbourhood in just two months. This is 25 times more than what would normally be requested by this community.

Since then, the project has targeted the Gibson, Landsdale, Stipley and Crown Point neighbourhoods and facilitated almost 250 tree requests. This year it hopes to break 300, and the success of the past four years indicates that this goal is definitely achievable.

The project is set to work with the Homeside / Crown Point East communities this year. Though the Street Tree Project does put focus onto specific neighbourhoods for campaign efforts, it also welcomes requests from outside of the targeted community.

For more information, the project has a public blog that is frequently updated, or you can contact the street tree project coordinator by email at streettrees@opirgmcmaster.org.

You may also file your own tree request through the City.

Trees not only benefit the environment, but also contribute to the beautification, cleaning, enjoyment and safety of city streets. So there’s no reason to be stumped about whether or not you want a street tree for your home, go out on a limb and make the request!

Chelsea Lowes is the 2017 Street Tree Project Coordinator for OPIRG McMaster.

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By CareBear (registered) | Posted June 12, 2017 at 08:13:36

Neither of the links at the bottom of the article are working.

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