Vancouver Surpasses Tree Planting Challenge for 2020

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The City of Vancouver had pledged to help plant 1,000 trees in 2020 as part of the Trees in Cities Challenge, a worldwide effort to create sustainable, more resilient and greener cities of tomorrow.

Across the community, nearly 1,490 new large-caliper trees were planted on public and private land in 2020, surpassing a City of Vancouver goal despite the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 year started with neighbors planting 20 trees at Homestead Park to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The year ended with 19 new street trees planted throughout the Arnada Neighborhood by residents and community volunteers utilizing safety and health guidelines for physical distancing and face coverings.

Due to evolving public health guidelines, in-person volunteer and neighborhood planting events were postponed for much of 2020. Instead, the City relied on property owners, staff, interns, AmeriCorps members, and contractors to plant trees at parks, natural areas, Westside Wastewater Treatment Facility, roadway medians, adjacent to roadways and private property where requested.

When safe and later allowed following current health guidelines, volunteers were able to help with tree planting.

“As we start this new year, we are renewing our commitment to planting trees across Vancouver,” Urban Forester Charles Ray said. “Projects planned for 2021 include planting at parks, City facilities, schools, businesses, and in neighborhoods. With the help of community volunteers and private property owners, we hope to surpass 2020 results.”

Recognizing the numerous environmental, economic, social, and health benefits that trees provide, the City of Vancouver is dedicated to investing in the future by promoting proper care of existing trees and by growing the community’s tree canopy.

Through its Urban Forestry Program, the City partners with Vancouver neighborhoods, residents, businesses, and community organizations to increase the local urban tree canopy, with a focus on an equitable distribution of tree benefits to all Vancouver residents. This includes planting and caring for trees in parks, natural areas, and medians, as well as supporting neighborhoods to organize tree plantings to reverse the tree canopy decline.

The Trees in Cities Challenge is a global campaign initiated by the UN Economic Council for Europe (UNECE) to promote climate action in cities. Urban areas are responsible for a majority of C02 emissions worldwide, making city-level action critical for global efforts to address the climate emergency.

Vancouver Urban Forestry, part of the city’s Department of Public Works, recognizes trees as a valuable community asset and an important component of managing stormwater. For more information on tree benefits, tree care, tree plantings, tree permits, and more, visit the Urban Forestry webpages at www.cityofvancouver.us/urbanforestry.

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