Article from last fall (2012): Tree canopy project looking to gauge value to community, Old Ottawa South pilot to catalogue types, numbers - News - By Michelle Nash Ottawa West Local Community News
A tree canopy project taking place in Old Ottawa South plans to identify
types of trees growing in area parks and the value the trees offer the
neighbourhood and city.
On Oct. 11, a group of Old Ottawa South residents, Carleton University students,
officials from the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and Heather
Hamilton, a former forests and green space advisory committee
chairwoman, gathered to count the tree canopy in Brewer Park.
said she got involved because she was looking for a fun community
project and since the city is only taking stock of street trees but not
in parks, it was just right.
"We're filling in the gap." she said.
objective of the project, which is also taking a canopy count in
Windsor Park, is to use the data collected to prepare a report which
will include information on all the trees in the park. The report will
include location maps and global positioning system data, pictures,
species and size of the trees.
"It would be nice for us to get a
picture from both the neighbourhood and city perspective," Hamilton
said. "To see how much parks are contributing to the overall health of the city."
explained such factors as a tree's contribution to controlling storm
water run-off, air pollution and local weather temperatures.
"Without trees, it would be hotter, more polluted and your basement might be flooded," Hamilton said.
catalyst for this project has been the emerald ash borer. The beetle
has burrowed itself in ash trees all over the city and as a result
thousands have been lost. For Mike Lascelles, chairman of the Ottawa
South Community Association environment committee, this project will
help the neighbourhood have a better understanding of what types of
trees are in the parks and whether any existing ash trees are healthy.
canopy count will help the Old Ottawa South community have an idea the
amount of trees that will potentially be lost in the parks.
"We can put a plan
together to replace the trees, if need be," he said. "Things are really
in tough shape there (at Windsor Park), with 30 to 40 emerald ash that
are on death row, wind damaged trees and vandalized trees."
is nothing new for Lascelles and the environment committee. More than
15 years ago, he and other members of the neighbourhood planted around
300 trees in Brewer Park, along the river, in an effort to protect the
habitat. The only thing is, at the time, they did not keep a record of
what species were planted, so now they are taking note of the diversity,
which is a difficult task,
Scott Danford and Dan Cooper from the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority are also helping with the project.
"Sometimes it can be very hard, these guys are the experts, it is great to have them," Lascelles said.
Erika Rose, a fourth year environmental sciences student at Carleton is one of the students participating.
Rose, being out in the field is the best kind of experience she can get
and having the opportunity to do her research in Brewer Park, her
neighbourhood, is even better.
"I thought it would be cool to do
something in the neighbourhood where I interact and live," Rose said.
"It is better than just reading about it. Here you are in the field,
learning first hand."
The project, Hamilton said is something neighbourhoods across the city can also start.
can do this, as long as you can access some sort of expert for the
identifying," Hamilton said. "Certain aspects are not difficult, and
some keen naturalists could do it."
The group will complete the Brewer Park and Windsor Park counts, Hamilton said, by mid-October.
Once the inventory is done will there be some thought in terms of planting more diverse and native trees as per Diana Beresford-Kroeger?